PMO’S Organizational Impact
The introduction of Project Management and Project Management Office has an organizational impact that should be monitored carefully in order not to adversely affect the company. Many effects are not seen in the early months after create structure, but appear after some time of running. The most common problems are:
• The exponential growth in the number of staff from the PMO: As it operates, the organization is transferring more and more work within the PMO, considering that this will raise even more the benefits it provides. Top-management, that can now trust the new structure, will address to the PMO for convenience, instead of requiring that work should be carried out within departments. This is not always beneficial; for acquiring real maturity in Project Management, the entire organization should learn to work horizontally and Project Manager should have less work to do, not more;
• Bureaucracy: In an effort to gain control of the department acting as a company within a company, a PMO Manager will create a lot of reports, policies and procedures to force departments to formally give control to the project managers and to enforce double subordination. With time, these rigid papers should be replaced of communication, cooperation, guidelines and a minimum of paper;
• PMO involvement in all activities of the organization: With confidence gained in the PMO, top management will tend to assign all sorts of activities to the PMO, which will lead to a bottleneck of its activity and an overhead of communication unjustified by benefits. In this respect, some limitations should be established PMO activities such as:
- the value of the project;
- project duration;
- involvement of two or more entities (departments, suppliers);
- Risks for a company;
- If the goal is critical to the company (eg a new product launch before the holiday season).
Special attention must be given to cost reduction initiatives. If you want to maintain the for the PMO medium and long term, do not declare such an initiative as a project for the PMO. Resistance to a measure to reduce costs will be added to the resistance to the new way of working and will compromise the PMO and the definition of Project Management. Rather, approach this initiative as a target for each department manager to reduce costs in his department and for the PMO to improve inter-departmental processes to achieve synergy.
On the other hand, with the establishment of PMO, executives and managers should quickly find the following qualitative benefits:
• The number of conflicts and problems escalated at your level dropped because it was filtered and settled largely at the Project Managers level;
• The time required for finding information on the progress of a project decreased. Without PMO, the information on the projects are scattered throughout the organization and there are multiple formats for planning. With the standardization brought by the PMO, status meetings are shorter and more revealing;
• Decisions on strategic initiatives are difficult to take in the absence of a PMO and are often delayed. With a PMO, data are available and decisions are possible.
• Time spent in meetings is shorter when there is a contact point that has for information, knows the issues and know who and in what meetings should be involved. As executives, you have the opportunity to spend less time solving operational problems and more time in strategic meetings.