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By: Jeff Collins

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January 11th, 2017

What a PMO Should Focus on in 2017


Numerous roles and continual oversight of projects and portfolios gain their foundations within the project management office (PMO). With the rise of the modern infrastructure and technology, this office has grown more complex than any of its predecessors might have imagined. Past project offices had the opportunity to manage individual projects. But, today’s demand and stringent project criteria, as explained by this ebook, requires more oversight, insight and consideration.

Managing projects of this magnitude have spurred the development of new, best of breed project controls, agile methodologies and superior workflows. Yet, project offices can have trouble pinning down priorities. Meanwhile, the scope and scale of projects continue to grow. Failure to adapt to increasing scale and demand will lead to the team’s degradation and stakeholder mistrust, if not project failure. So, project management teams should focus on these five essentials in 2017.

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1. PMOs Must Make Portfolio Management a Top Priority

Today’s project management professionals lack the luxury of managing projects one at a time. Even small projects can make up a larger portion of a company’s portfolio. Moreover, the growing eyes of the government demand stronger accountability and visibility across all industries. But, the level of scrutiny on the oil and gas industry is much higher.

Because of increased project scope, size and duration, management offices rely on recent, accurate data to make decisions. Considering remote management of projects, inaccurate information could result in catastrophic decisions. Precise and easy-to-use project controls, such as those mentioned in this ebook, enables project teams to better manage these projects.

Across a company’s portfolio, small inaccuracies add up to major problems. This can include financial setbacks, the assessment of fines and penalties or unethical business practices. The level of visibility and accuracy correlates to the probability of project fulfillment, which leads to the overall success of a portfolio. So, the demand for better, accurate and actionable data will only continue to increase.   

2. The Office Should Foster Change Management

Change is the only constant in project management. New personnel will come to the table. New computers and mobile devices will make managing remote projects easier. Innovative computer systems, including new project controls, will reduce the amount of time spent laboring to create accurate project schedules, budgets or proposals.

Depending on a project’s duration, executive-level leadership may change. Project management professionals and managers may retire or move on to other career options. Political upheaval could undermine a project’s requirements. Or, a change in weather patterns might destroy a project’s future.  

The opportunities for change proliferate throughout project management. These challenges emphasize the need for strong change management skills. Furthermore, PMOs must learn to adapt to changing demands, including changes in project scope, as explained in this blog post. Stakeholders may request multiple solutions to problems that arise.

Each of the possibilities leads to the growing push for agile methodologies in project management teams. Agile methodologies retain flexibility, a critical component of business-driven project offices, asserts this blog post. Such methodologies also establish protocols for managing change.

3. Set Smart, Strategic Goals

Goals enable project management teams to work toward a set standard. Without them, team members may lose track of responsibilities or fail to recognize opportunities. But, all goals should be smart and help your organization stand out by meeting the following standards:

  • Goals set by the office should align with stakeholder, company and team members’ needs.
  • Goals should reflect accurate, timely needs.
  • Goals must enable collaboration.

Metrics are useful tools in tracking the progress of goals as well. For example, the goal of procurement teams might be to increase the number of potential suppliers. So, metrics tracking the number of suppliers available and the number of contracted suppliers can help the PMO gain a comprehensive view of the goal’s success.

4. Use a Standard, Developed Methodology Across the Team

Think about two team members using a terminal-based platform. Person A enters the budget for a portion of the schedule. Person B enters the actual number of hours worked for the same portion. Although identical in software, the lack of coordination leads to project delays and budgeting issues.

This example highlights the need for standard practices across the team. And, using a developed, standard methodology is no exception. Since agile methodology remains a leading trend among project management professionals, facilitating the transition from existing methodologies can be difficult at best. But, it is essential to getting the team working together again.

Having a set standard builds transparency throughout the office and maintains consistency, a key point of best of breed project controls.

5. Leverage the Talents and Strengths of Each Team Member

Speaking of agile methodologies, have you considered what the silent team members might have to offer?

Their input and opinions are critical pathways to implementing agile methodologies in the office. This allows new people to gain skills and offer solutions that others might overlook. While it may seem to break down the chain of command, its potential benefits outweigh its drawbacks.

For example, a project office struggling with a budget might feel lost. But, what if the solution was diverting resources from milestone B, managed by “Tom,” a novice team member? If he does not voice his thoughts to the group, others might propose cost-increasing solutions.

This builds creativity and encourages out-of-the-box thinking across the team. The project has set goals. So, why does who suggests possible ways to get there within the strategic needs and standards of the company matter?

Start Setting Standards With Best of Breed Project Controls

Tomorrow’s demand on your PMO could sound absurd. But, how do you prepare for the changes that may come? The answer is simple. Creating, maintaining and improving standards in your office will help your organization stand apart from your competitors.

The time to improve your team has arrived. Join the conversation below, and download this ebook. It will guide you through the process of setting and using best of breed project controls and help you propel your team forward.

Best of Breed Project Controls

About Jeff Collins

Hi there, thanks for reading! As the President of IMS, I’ve just about seen it all in the project management industry. I’m happy to share my experiences to help managers and organizations improve their project performance. Please reach out to our team if you’re struggling to achieve your goals. We’d love to work with you to discover the PM solutions you need for success.

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