Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Cheetah Your PMO!

~ By Michelle LaBrosse

Businessman in chefs hat cooks up a deal

You are in the kitchen, surrounded by ingredients, and are asked to prepare a meal. As you look around, you notice that you have the usual: flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, meat, veggies, and fruit. You think, "No problem, I can whip something up in no time." Then you take a second look around and see that there is no stove. There are no pots, pans, or utensils. No cookbook can be found.

It takes more than ingredients to create a meal, and it takes more than resources to manage a project. You need to have standards (cooking temperature), documentation (recipes), guidance (cooking shows), economies of repetition (making meals every day), and metrics (your taste testers). Your kitchen is the Project Management Office (PMO) of your meals, ensuring that ingredients are put together in a way that consistently and efficiently produces edible (if not delicious) results.

Now that I've gotten you hungry, let's think about how this applies to a matter near and dear to your heart, managing successful projects! History shows us that companies that have PMOs perform consistently better that those without PMOs. A study done by CIO and the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that the longer a company has a PMO in place, the better its project success rates become. In the study, CIO and PMI discovered that 37 percent of companies with a PMO for less than one year reported increases in project success rate, while companies with a PMO for four or more years had a 65 percent increase in project success. Like a good piece of steak, the longer your PMO marinates the better your projects turn out.

So what are the first steps that you need to take when you decide to establish a PMO?

Pick Your Flavour

PMOs can come in all shapes and forms. Whether you are revamping your current PMO or starting from scratch, it important that you set up a PMO that reflects the need of your organisation. Whether you need a place that Project Managers (PMs) can go to for training, best practices, and guidance, or you require a central unit of PMs who are loaned out to business units to work on projects, ask yourself and your coworkers these questions before organising your PMO.

Don't Forget to Measure!

In order to quantify your project management success rates with a PMO, you need to know where you are now. This is also true if you already have a PMO and wish to revise it for greater project success. What percent of projects in your organisation are completed on time and within budget? What percent are not, and how much are they over budget or behind schedule? Keep careful records of your project success rates, as this gives you a transparent view into how changes in your PMO can affect your organisation's project success rates.

Develop a Recipe Book and Share It

We all have that friend that can make the most delicious (insert mouth watering and delectable item here) in the world, but he refuses to share the recipe claiming it's a "family secret." While this might fly in the food world, it cannot lead to project success in Project Management. In the PM world, if someone has a secret recipe for success, it's your job to get that recipe. Make your PMO the central hub for best practices (templates, procedures, project plans, lessons learned, etc.) so that your company can save time on its projects.

Taste Test and Improve as You Go

It's important to check on your PMO throughout its creation, as well as when it is done, in order to ensure that it's the kind of PMO that your organisation can effectively utilise. If you find that your PMO is implementing too much red tape and slowing projects down, revisit the processes you put in place and adapt to your organisation's tastes and preferences.

Dig In!

Once your PMO is set up - use it! Pretty cakes aren't baked to look at, and PMOs aren't constructed for show. Make sure your PMO is not just a symbol of organisation in the company, but a functioning part of everyday business and a true enhancement to the way that projects are done. The best PMOs are the ones that are actionable, and not just administrative.


Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become "Cheetahs" using Cheetah Learning's innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.

Recently honoured by the Project Management Institute (PMI), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognised by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Enter the word hand backwards.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

12 Tips for Being a Good Manager

Businessman revealing the inner superhero

Keeping a project management team running smoothly can be a challenge, especially when budgets are lean and expectations are high.

Project Scheduling And Resource Levelling

Gantt chart and fountain pen

This article describes the must do steps, in the correct order, for scheduling projects and levelling finite resources.

Stealth Team Building

Four jigsaw puzzle pieces on the topic of team building

The effective project manager takes advantage of every opportunity the team gets together to develop team synergy.

Project Cost Management

Pile of British one pound coins

How do we know what a project will cost? We really don't until the project is complete because we can't accurately predict the future. What we can do is create an estimate.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Tora L. commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Tue 16 April 1:03pm

Quinsey Moyo commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Mon 15 April 4:35pm

Archibald commented on…
Project Management Success with the Top 7 Best Practices
- Mon 15 April 1:09pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Writing a CV for a Project Manager role https://t.co/uEzvcwb9tf about 2 days ago

General Project Management • Re: How to Embed a Bespoke International Methodology and Framework https://t.co/N6YenNiQeK about 2 days ago

General Project Management • Writing a CV for a Project Manager role https://t.co/5EvjVLz8ui about 2 days ago