A good PMO is the beating heart of any change programme. How healthy is yours?

Use the diagnostic to check:
  • Flip between data-entry and results as often as you need to
  • Bookmark the page to come back to it later or share with others
  • Consider asking others to complete the diagnostic and share the results
  • Print and use the results panel and the included "What Good Looks Like” to plan any necessary actions

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Our view of best practice

Project Management Offices have become an accepted part of many organisational change functions and programme structures. When designed and implemented correctly, PMOs provide an invaluable asset to both the programme team, key stakeholders and sponsors.

All too often we see PMOs solely focused on administrative tasks; collating reports, tracking financials and managing schedules. Worse still, PMO functions can be duplicated across the organisation, each operating to different standards, with different controls and templates. Often reinventing the wheel each time. While these administrative tasks are important the benefits of a PMO are not being fully realised or exploited.  

We have tapped into our extensive partner experience, gained through leading many ‘big brand’ critical and complex change programmes, to bring together a diagnostic that helps you understand how your PMO stacks up against what we would describe as best practice.

The importance of HOW

We would suggest that how a PMO works is just as important as what the PMO does. We’d recommend you:

  • Always use experienced delivery professionals
  • Use that experience to constructively challenge
  • Listen carefully to the needs of key stake-holders
  • Assume responsibility where you can to increase bandwidth of others
  • Build trust through consistent processes and a single version of the truth
  • Keep calm under pressure
  • Drive learning and continuous improvement

One size doesn't fit all

For a small, low-risk programme it may be that the PMO needs to be mainly administrative, collecting data and status reports, recording milestones and helping with things like standards and induction.

At the other end of the scale, with a large, complex programme that poses a high risk to the organisation, it may be that the PMO needs to be very different. In this case data should not only be gathered, but be constructively challenged and interpreted for trends and insights. Rather than just providing administrative support, the PMO may need to coach and support the delivery team, helping maintain the alignment to strategy and other large programmes.

Identifying and agreeing the type of PMO needed takes time, but it’s not an activity to be skipped.

Other things you might find useful

In addition to the PMO Diagnostic tool, we have included below, a number of brief documents that you might find useful.

  1. Scope and activities explores the possible scope of a PMO and within that, the activities it may perform. Not everything has to be done in the PMO, but it’s important that everyone is clear where it is done.
  2. Value to key stakeholders of a well-run PMO. This is a useful check on whether that value is being delivered and if not, why not.
  3. Sample role descriptions for the key members of a PMO. Yours may need to be different, but these may be a good starter-set.



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