August 28, 2018

How to Ensure Project Success: Implement a Project Management Office Approach (Part 1)

We have found that given the daily distraction of putting out fires, many business management teams have difficulties in implementing longer-term operational improvements. The Inglewood team has extensive experience in providing assistance working with organizations on strategic initiatives through a Project Management Office (PMO) approach to help them implement improvements, such as streamlining operations, trimming away waste and boosting their bottom line.

What is a Project Management Office (PMO)?

A Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within a business, agency, or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization.  The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition and expertise in the execution of projects.  The PMO can generally be defined as "the source of documentation, guidance, and metrics on the practice of project management and execution."

Why Do You Need a PMO?

Risk of Project Failure

There are many reasons for project failures. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, inadequate project estimating and planning constitutes 30 percent of project failures, lack of executive sponsorship constitutes 16 percent and poorly defined goals and objectives constitute 12 percent. It also found that using established project management approaches increased success as measured by a project's key performance indicators of quality, scope, schedule, budgets, and benefits. The survey indicates that operating an established PMO is one of the top three reasons that drive successful project delivery. Companies implement projects they believe are critical to their success, and project failure can put a lot of financial stress on a business or even cause the business to fail.

Organization Size, Project Scope, and Frequency

For most middle market businesses, the need for major project management expertise is usually transitional — it is essential for the project planning and implementation but is often an unnecessary ongoing expense after the project is completed. There are just not enough projects to justify a senior PMO team or leader in place, and after the project is completed, the operations of the new system, processes, and operational improvements are turned over to the day-to-day management and employees.

PMO Office Roles

A PMO office tends to take on one or more of three types of roles in an organization depending on the situation and needs of the organization.

The three roles are:

  1. Supportive. Requiring a more collaborative or consultative approach — getting the organization to work together.
  2. Controlling. Requiring compliance — particularly for operational improvement and change management projects.
  3. Directive. Taking control, directing, and managing — particularly for projects with critical timelines and budgets.

For more information, see How to Ensure Project Success: Implement a Project Management Office Approach (Part 2) 

About Inglewood Associates

Since 1983, Inglewood Associates has been delivering valuable business acumen to assist clients with a wide range of business challenges. Inglewood principals bring their wide-ranging experiences as interim and full-time CEOs, CFOs and Chairmen of the Board to assist clients with effective solutions for their needs and circumstances. Inglewood Associates specializes in profit improvement, business turnarounds, interim management, M&A due diligence, expert witness and project management.