With the level of technological change taking place in society, it is not surprising that organisations are investing heavily to keep ahead of consumer expectations, and often this investment is taking the form of internal transformational projects. The challenge is that these projects may not necessarily deliver what they are intended to. In order to ensure your organisation is not simply wasting time and money, it may be worth including project management as part of this investment and considering some of the key components of good project management.
To understand what project management is we first need to define what a ‘project’ is. A ‘project’ is an undertaking by an organisation with a specific goal and adhering to a defined timeline, i.e. it is not something that will become a routine task once completed.
‘Project management’ is the use of developed methodologies to deliver a project in a structured way. It includes elements such as; developing a plan, which incorporates all project delivery components, management of dependencies, defining communications inside the project (how progress will be monitored, dependencies tracked) and outside of the project (how the project reports to the organisation on progress against plan). Importantly, it also includes monitoring seen/unforeseen obstacles that have crept up through the process of delivering the project plan; identifying the skills and resources required to deliver the project; and ensuring that the quality of project outputs meets a minimum standard and adheres to specification.
These are just examples of some of the components that need to be defined, agreed, and managed by the project management office (PMO). You may be wondering when and why a PMO is required, and why can’t this simply be managed by the teams responsible for delivery of the work?
Having a dedicated PMO function provides a number of benefits to an organisation, which enable it to have a more structured, consistent, and scalable process for delivering projects. Some of these benefits include independent oversight and challenge, centralising the coordination of delivery, and efficient escalation and prioritisation of challenges impacting delivery.
The above focuses on the scalable nature of the PMO, but what if your organisation does not typically undertake many ‘projects’, is it really necessary to establish a PMO? Does this not simply add unnecessary overhead to what could be delivered more efficiently without a PMO?
Regardless of scale, a project that is not clearly defined or has not engaged all the relevant stakeholders in the design process, may not deliver against the goals it set out to achieve.
Through the use of flexible project management methodologies and frameworks, the PMO can be scaled down to cater for smaller projects. This ensures that all the fundamental principles of good project management are adhered to, and projects do deliver the benefits to justify the investment.
Utilising a PMO will likely save an organisation time and money due to a managed process and no unexpected surprises through delivery. More importantly, it ensures that the project delivers on the objectives it set out to achieve and that the project wraps up as planned.