Project Management

Current Climate – Where do PMOs Add Value?

moneybagToday, even with all the available advice, people still struggle to create value. Ralf Finchett Jnr of PMO planet believes that one reason for the struggle is a separation between the advice being given and the actions being taken. He notes that many publications will recommend prioritizing your projects so that you are able to focus on the ones that pay out the most. However, it seems the current trend is to stick with what you have and spend your time and money trying to make it work: It seems in this current climate whereby budgets are being squeezed, that the concerns at executive level surround increasingly the probability of successful delivery based on the projects currently selected as opposed to selecting the right projects in the first place (probably because currently there is little budge to select projects against!) This got me thinking, ‘where does the PMO (portfolio, programme, or project) add the most value in this current climate of tight budgets?’ My current thoughts are around a PMO developing and owning process and governance, which adds challenge and scrutiny to ensure that projects are more tightly controlled (without hindering delivery speed) and what is being reported at project level, is the one version of the truth. Finchett recommends conducting earned value analysis. This means viewing how much cost and effort has gone toward a project and seeing what the overall payoff is. You should be asking yourself a few questions, according to Finchett, when trying this approach:

  • How much effort or cost has the project spent?
  • Is the project on plan for delivering what it should deliver?
  • How much does it need to spend to finish the project?

This type of analysis should be the concern of the project manager. PMOs must put a system in place where conducting such valuable checks will not become overwhelming. Finchett notes that he is not advocating complete avoidance of operation at the portfolio level, but he does remind us that everything must add value. If it does not add value to your projects or organization, it is time to make a change. Adding value is always a tricky matter, but reconsidering your approach may be the key to success.

Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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