Project management office: providing the tools for the job

Mr Jones is currently investigating the use of new and advanced planning tools, working out how these can be incorporated into Fujitsu UK’s current work, and considering the impact on programmes that will need to adapt to suit the system, should the tools be introduced.

“I’m looking at the investment case for it and calculating what the return on that investment is likely to be. But, of course, I also need to assess how it will impact upon the quality of what we do in a positive way. Will it take risk out of the projects, for example,” he explains.

Despite the benefits to organisations of de-risking projects, PMO managers have to overcome significant barriers in the workplace to get their voices heard. According to The State of the PMO in 2011, published by Forrester Research in conjunction with PMI’s Programme Management Office Community of Practice, just 15pc of project managers who report to vice
presidents of IT believe their firm recognises the PMO as delivering significant value.

The number increases slightly, to 22pc, when the PMO reports to a chief information officer. Seven in 10 respondents who said the value of what they did was questioned within their organisations believed this came from upper management – implying that buy-in from senior decision-makers is vital for PMO success.

“Just 10 years ago, PMO as a job function wasn’t very common, but it is much more so today. Still, we in this profession need to communicate the benefits of what we do to upper management and they need to be prepared to listen to the business case if it is to contribute properly to a business,” says Mr Jones.

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