Why Strategy Matters in a PMO Framework

santamonicadoor150The first time I setup a PMO it was the gold standard in terms of process, risk and compliance. Every project had all the required documentation in the correct order and signed. All the standard reports were produced and sent out on schedule. That PMO was also a failure. It was a failure I ended up learning a lot from. If all you do is define and govern a project life cycle, you are missing the most important goal of having a PMO in the first place. What matters more than great process and procedures is that  your projects are effectively executing the goals and strategies of your organization. Below, I will cover three ways to to really make your PMO shine. Does the Project Stack Up
A project proposal can be a great idea, but does it advance the strategic goals of the organization? And how does it compare to other proposals in the pipeline? And is the Business Case analysis sound? An organization has a finite project budget and it is up to the PMO to ensure they get the maximum VALUE out of that budget. The easiest way to start this is with with a project scoring model. The process requires a relatively small amount of effort and is used to quickly filter the best candidates for further analysis. At the end, the PMO should have a list of sound proposals for the business to review. Are the Correct Stakeholders at the Table
I have seen IT run a project with little to no business involvement and I have seen it the other way where the business runs the project and brings IT in only where critical and when all the contracts are signed. To be successful, you need both the technical expertise and subject matter expertise on day one.  You also need to think about support teams. Who is going to do the training? how about the marketing? Or is there any compliance you need to factor in? This is where the PMO not only ensures the correct players are involved, but to also make sure none of the players bog down the process. Is the Organization Ready
You are about to implement the largest change to your organization in a decade. Do your employees know why you are doing this? Do they know how it will effect them and change their work? If you keep them in the dark, you are asking for trouble. If you keep them informed, you will get a treasure of great feedback and teams proactively ensuring the change will work fine in their area. The project could also require a lot of additional work as people will be pulled away for analysis and testing. If so, what actions or events can you do to keep the spirits up? A focus on the people can turn a good project into a great one.  

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