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In Tough Times, Where Do PMOs Add Value?

Discussion of PMOs these days tend to focus on the portfolio aspect, which deals with organizational alignment and careful project selection. Ralf Finchett Jr. writes in a blog post at PMO Planet though that leadership teams are actually more focused right now on controlling current projects and improving their likelihood of success. And this makes sense, because when money is tight, you would be more concerned with keeping the ship afloat than installing a new air conditioner in it.

Back to Basics

Finchett believes PMOs add value back when they develop process and governance, because it allows projects to be more tightly controlled without delaying deliverables. The increased visibility is able to show when cost spent on a project is equating to a proportionate amount of effort. Finchett elaborates:

For example, just because a project has spent 50% of its budget does not mean it has delivered 50% of the outputs or deliverables. If a project has only delivered 30% of its outputs, spending 50% of its budget the PMO (portfolio, programme, or project) can work with project managers to ascertain how much extra budget is required to finish the project, and also what is the resolution rather than asking for more budget or time.

He goes on to say that PMOs should not avoid operating at the portfolio level, but in the tough times, it just makes more sense for PMOs to tackle the places where it is definite to produce value. PMOs help when they are able to answer these basic questions:

  • How much effort or cost has the project spent?
  • Is the project on plan for delivering what it should deliver?
  • How much does it need to spend to finish the project?

How does your PMO stack up by comparison? You can read Finchett’s original blog post here:

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