Before getting into discussions about Digital PMO, let us take a quick look at traditional Project Management Office (PMO) and the limitations of traditional PMOs
What is PMO?
Project Management Offices (PMO) are centralized functions within organizations, facilitating professional project, program and portfolio management within organizations, by;
- Providing standard procedures & guidelines for project selection, planning, execution, monitoring&controlling and closing
- Providing tailoring guidelines
- Enforcement of these defined procedures and guidelines through audits, training, corrective & preventive actions
- Communicating status to the relevant stakeholders
- Staffing of project management teams (in some cases)
- Advising the key stakeholders on potential risks and recommending corrective and preventive actions
Limitations of traditional PMOs
- Reactive than pro-active – For PMOs have to be effective, they must be able to prevent problems before they happen. This is possible only when PMOs have balanced alignment towards project management teams (the ones who focuses on monitoring&controlling) and project teams (the ones who focuses on project execution). Most of the traditional PMO’s focus is to cater to the needs of the senior management and the project management teams.
- Delays in reporting – The time lag between reporting is another major challenge. For EPC projects, the cycle time of reporting varies from weekly to monthly. That means, before a problem gets highlighted to the key people, lot of time is wasted.
- Varied status update time – Unless the status update times of the contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers are aligned, monitoring the actual progress is difficult.
- Lack of accuracy of data – when the number of stakeholders are large, maintaining the accuracy of status updates become a major challenge.
Digital PMOs provide almost real time task level, work package level, project level, program level and finally at the portfolio level progress information to the right stakeholders real time, without the need for manual progress status updates. This is accomplished by digitizing the project workflows. When real time progress information is available, then the project management becomes more pro-active. They will be able to focus on the problematic areas quickly. With the ability to forecast, project management teams will become more proactive.
Where to start?
- Understand the basic functionality of standard digital PMO applications
- With a better insight into what a digital PMO can do for you, do the following steps;
- Identify key stakeholders
- Identify the must have reporting requirements
- Take stock of the scheduling, ERP, Inventory, HR, Financial accounting systems they are using
- Identify the integration points
- Define the digital PMO tools evaluation criteria
- Evaluate the leading digital PMO tools available the market against your pre-defined criteria
- Select the right tool and implement
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