The 8 Qualities of World Class and Successful PMOs
Project management has become a differentiating factor for many businesses. And some
companies have figured out ways to increase the effectiveness of this part of the
business, leading to even more success.
Yet, one may wonder, what qualities and features of project management offices (PMOs)
help these companies experience success? Recently Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) and
the Project Management Institute (PMI) joined together to develop a few studies to
reveal what makes a PMO high-performing.
Hearing about what other successful PMO offices are doing to differentiate themselves
from competitors can help you establish some tactics and benchmarks to propel your teams
to do the same.
So, check out these takeaways from these PwC and PMI studies for more insight into what
has helped some PMOs to rise to success:
Alignment Between PMOs and Senior Leaders Matters
Navigating the Talent Gap Study
researchers found that one of the significant attributes that separated frontrunner PMOs
from those lagging was the strategic alignment between PMOs and senior leadership.
The highest traits that all senior leaders recognized among PMOs were problem-solving and
relationship builders, but more senior leaders in frontrunner organizations saw project
managers as creative, realizing visions, and essential.
This data points to how crucial it is for PMOs to be seen as a creative and essential
force by senior leaders as this is an important feature that can help contribute to PMOs'
Even in the age of remote work, many companies are still prioritizing hiring professionals
in their general local area, but judging by the data, hiring managers may want to expand
their hiring strategy.
According to the
Navigating the Talent Gap Study
frontrunner organizations reach out beyond their geographic area to recruit project managers.
Almost 50% are recruiting professionals outside of their local area, and 45% use flexible
staffing solutions like independent contractors and part-time employees.
Lastly, frontrunner organizations are 8% more likely than other organizations to embrace
flexible work arrangements like remote work and alternative work schedules.
High-performing PMOs are becoming comfortable with being flexible in approaching hiring
and the parameters they set for employees to work.
It's All About Measuring Impact
The phrase "it's hard to improve what you don't measure" has been attributed to various
famous management and business influencers and thought leaders throughout the years, and
it couldn't be more accurate.
Measuring What Matters
found that 55% of the top 10% of PMOs used technology to effectively measure the impact
of projects and programs.
This sentiment makes sense as understanding the performance of various initiatives gives
PMOs and other individuals the information they need to improve a program or do it away
with it altogether if it isn't working.
Involved the C-Suite in Communications
Getting buy-in from senior leaders is essential for success, and this stat from Measuring
What Matters brings this point home even further. Their research revealed that 73% of the
top 10% of PMOs improved the communication and transparency around projects with the C-suite
over the past 12 months.
Senior leaders are not always in-tune with what is happening across departments, and
prioritizing consistent communication to help them understand the work is being done
can increase the likelihood of their support and overall buy-in.
Another relevant stat to drive this point home is that 57% of the top 10% of PMOs engaged
the C-suite to develop metrics for the PMOs. So, they're prioritizing consistent communication
and engaging them in creating benchmarks they will adhere to.
Schedule and Quality Metrics Win Out
Well, there are a variety of things you can measure when you're trying to help your company
differentiate itself from the competition — particularly when it comes to project management.
However, a couple of metrics truly win out for data collection. According to Measuring What
Matters, the top three input metrics that the top 10% of PMOs tracked were adherence to
schedule, quality of work, and adherence to budget.
It makes absolute sense since these attributes are some of the most crucial regarding
successfully leading a project to completion. But, it helps to have some evidence to
solidify how critical these measurements genuinely are.
Customer Satisfaction Is A Great Indicator of Success
How do you know your approach is working? Well, customer satisfaction seems to be at the
top of the list for top PMOs. Seventy-eight percent of the top 10% of PMOs measured customer
satisfaction as an output measure, whereas only 66% of total PMOs did the same.
Ultimately, your customers will be one of the best indicators of whether your
approach is working. There are a variety of ways to get valuable feedback from
your customers. Whether through focus groups or short surveys, take the time to get
meaningful feedback from your customers. Doing so can help you see if what you're doing
is working or if you need to switch it up for a new approach.
Embracing Flexibility and Adaptation
Project management isn't a one-size-fits-all process. The
PMO Maturity Study
revealed that 92% of the top 10% of PMOs continuously adapted their processes for different
projects and teams.
During a time when the pandemic has changed how we work and workplaces across the world
are still managing the disruptions, it can feel like a lot to ask to look for ways to
continue to be nimble. Still, PMOs that are taking this approach are seeing success.
Change is never easy, and it's okay to take a gradual approach to this, but it's always
a great idea to find where you can fit goals and processes to your team's unique personalities
and talents when possible.
Skill Development is Key for Project Managers
The PMO Maturity Study also revealed that 88% of the top 10% of PMOs continuously helped
their project managers to develop personal skills. The way we work, process information,
and collaborate is constantly changing, and routine training and development are almost
becoming a necessity.
This approach by the top 10% of PMOs is intentional, as the study also revealed that 69%
promote a continuous learning culture. As the process of project management continues to
evolve, learning and development will continue to be key to companies striving to stay
competitive — PMOs and their respective companies that make this a priority will win out.
You Don't Have to Be the Top Ten Percent to Bring About Change Right Now
It can feel overwhelming to change processes and move the strategic focus toward improvement.
It isn't easy, but it can be done. The challenge is to remember that the process is gradual.
Likely, the top 10% of PMOs in these studies didn't become that way overnight.
It took intention, time, and much forethought to get to that point. Fortunately, you don't
have to address every hurdle at once. You can take your time and focus on the most pertinent
issues now and then build on those later.
The stats above give you an idea of where to start, and from there, you can create an
effective plan to move your PMO forward and facilitate the best processes for you and your teams.
Measuring What Matters,
Narrowing the Talent Gap,