Project Management Office

7 Marks of a Best PMO

What makes for the best PMO? According to Alec Satin, it’s a mix of alignment, success, and process. Satin looks at his experiences with project managers and successful PMOs to determine the list, explaining each of his “marks” through intelligent and well founded commentary. The list includes:

  • Projects aligned with organization goals
  • Project success rates increase
  • Project management competence increases
  • Standards and templates are developed and improved
  • PMO tone is inviting
  • Training is available
  • Learning is embraced

Each of these represents an overall goal every Project manager should attempt, and every PMO must aim for. The first point about alignment is particularly important, as many organizations with only fledgling PMOs forget to keep their projects in line with ever changing business goals: At some level, every project is conceived to provide some benefit to the organization.  The business case, charter and scope ideally describe this in an understandable way.  A good PMO ensures that all projects worked in an organization have benefits that truly align to the most important needs and objectives of the business. If the nature of the business environment changes significantly, a good PMO will decide what impact if any this will have on the active projects.  Sometimes projects need to be redefined, shelved or even cancelled.  If a project’s benefits are no longer benefits, it makes no sense to continue working the project. In essence, it comes down to having an intelligent PMO which also is open to learning, welcoming people to utilize it, and willing to take lessons from mistakes. The very best PMOs are always optimizing and expanding the abilities of project managers and the organizations they serve. The incorporation of a PMO into daily project activities depends on the mindset of employees, after all, and it’s through their commitment to the PMO that any of these marks are employed.

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