Prior to implementing a Program Management Office (PMO), leaders will take into consideration its advantages, the resources required for a successful PMO, and if it ultimately fills a need for their organization. Determining whether now is the time to introduce a PMO is the last step before taking the leap — and knowing the symptoms that could be rectified by a PMO is crucial. These include, but are not limited to, the following recurring problems:
- Late delivery/implementations (especially without adequate reason or communication)
- Unsatisfactory IT system performance and/or functionality
- Unreasonable cost overruns
- Unknown or unstable product/system roadmap(s)
- High production support issues related to applications
- High rate of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) exceptions
- Lengthy backlog of projects and enhancements
- Frequent staff turnover in IT and/or the PMO
Moreover, if you have a PMO and these problems are present, the PMO could be hindering the company’s profitability and not living up to its value proposition. The underlying issues here may not sit entirely within the PMO and could be influenced by other processes and operations across the business.
Accordingly, before an organization takes the leap to establish or restructure a PMO, leadership should review various functions and features of their IT application systems, including:
- IT environment size and complexity
- Frequency of software releases
- Competing software development priorities
- Resource and staffing constraints (both business and IT)
After evaluation of the company’s environment and its needs, if there is a sentiment of concern around one or more of the above, a PMO may be a valuable addition to an organization in need of restructuring. But when a company makes the decision to introduce a new or improved PMO, how is its success measured?
The key to a PMO’s success, like most entities, is continuous evaluation and improvement. This includes maintaining and analyzing metrics within the PMO as well as IT and the organization’s respective business operations.
A well-run PMO is timely in identifying issues and risks, reporting and escalating identified challenges to the appropriate individuals, and implementing corrective measures to rectify problems it detects. Tracking and analyzing weakness trends enable the PMO (and the company) to proactively address and remediate project issues. The PMO does not meet its value proposition when it fails to identify and correct problems. Giving it the authority and flexibility to suss out and remedy tripwires is central to the PMO’s success.
A proactive PMO obtains and promotes involvement throughout the organization and oftentimes — when necessary — taps a trusted outside partner to conduct an independent assessment and lend their expertise to offer top-to-bottom improvements.