Assessing the critical functions of your PMO brings significant benefits
Carrying out a Project Management Office maturity assessment is a critical step in ensuring that your PMO delivers maximum value to your organization, as well as highlighting areas where improvements or developments could be made. The core function of a PMO is to help an organization achieve better results through its projects, so it’s vital that time is put aside to analyze performance and operational capacity.
We have previously considered the steps that you should go through to assess the maturity of your PMO and will now consider the content of what should go into that assessment.
What to assess when considering PMO maturity
A well-functioning PMO provides an internal consulting service to ensure that an organization’s projects run smoothly and successfully.
Any assessment of PMO maturity needs to take into account the varying desired functions of the office. It’s worth highlighting, however, that there is no universally applicable list of functions, and therefore the shape of your own PMO will always be dependent on your circumstance.
Any assessment of a PMO should consider its level of maturity against these defined functions.
Aligning programs of work with the overall strategic direction of the organization
One of the core responsibilities of a PMO is to assess requests for projects as they arrive in the organization and then decide how they align with overall strategic objectives. If a project doesn’t fit with the goals of the business, it’s likely that it should not be progressed; therefore, the PMO delivers a go/no-go decision.
The ability to do this, including the influence and autonomy within the organization to make these decisions, should be a part of the maturity assessment process.
Managing a complex project environment
A critical function of a PMO is to manage multiple projects and programs of work at the same time, including implementing resource management and data management. Accurate and up-to-date information and data should be available to decision-makers whenever they need it, allowing easy visibility of the status of large or complex programs.
Elements such as cost controls, scope definition, and resource planning should be considered when looking at the maturity of the PMO in carrying out this function.
As well as providing a strategic overview of projects, some PMOs also get involved in project delivery and defined project tasks are carried out within the PMO itself.
A maturity assessment should look at whether the PMO is involved in project delivery in a fashion appropriate to the organization. If the desired role of the PMO is to be involved in execution of tasks, then that should be taken into account as part of the assessment. Alternatively, if the intended role of the PMO is primarily to oversee implementation, then that should be the criteria as part of the assessment.
Although the PMO acts as the center of expertise for project management, it also has a role in providing training and skills to staff across the rest of the business.
Any maturity assessment should consider the appropriateness and efficacy of the training provided, including whether the right staff have the right skills to deliver against project requirements.
Embedding methodologies and a project management culture
Last but not least, one of the crucial functions of a PMO is to help embed a project management culture within a company. This might mean changing mindsets towards a more PM-driven approach, or it might mean implementing new processes, tools, or IT systems to achieve the most efficiently managed projects.
The success of this culture change is often the difference between success and failure for whole programs of work, and therefore makes up an essential part of a PMO maturity assessment.
Understanding what you want from your PMO
One of the most important prerequisites of working through the maturity assessment process is understanding what your PMO should be delivering.
PMOs are often classified by scope: project-specific, departmental, or enterprise; and delivery: operational, tactical, or strategic.
It would be easy to assume that all PMOs should aim to be enterprise-level and strategic; however, this may not always be the case, depending on the nature of the business. Also, a strategic PMO does not necessarily mean a mature one. Be sure to understand your desired operating model before you start the assessment process.
Conduct an effective PMO maturity assessment and enjoy the benefits
Assessing the maturity of your PMO matters. It helps you understand whether you’re getting the best out of the PMO as a critical organizational function and acts as a ‘health check’ for project management.
Critically evaluating the performance of your own PMO is a great way to assess maturity. DRMcNatty has extensive experience in this area of work and can bring industry-specific knowledge to the process.
Our knowledgeable staff can work alongside your PMO to create an understanding of current maturity levels, as well as providing a roadmap for improvements. Start a conversation with us today to learn how we can help you get the best out of your PMO.