Applying a Lean approach to your PMO

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The Project or Programme Management Office (PMO) is there to support the smooth running of projects, communicate to management on progress and allow effective decisions to be made to mitigate against issues.

The PMO provides an essential service in an organisation running multiple projects, however, many often get caught up in their own processes and procedures and end up diverting projects from delivering through the need to meet PMO requirements.

We beleive that taking a Lean approach to your PMO processes is key to providing the right level of support to projects and ensuring you continue to gain the maximum value from the PMO resources you use. If you have an existing PMO think about the proceses they are operating and ask a few key questions founded on some Lean principles:

  • Remove wasteful processes - often PMO processes are put in place for a specific need at the time - a drive for cost cutting, a drive for quality - but what are the drivers now? If your processes are designed to support different drivers then they are wastefull and worse still likely to be driving the wrong behaviours in your projects.

  • Only add value - are all the things the PMO are doing really adding direct value to projects or supporting management decisions? How much of the data captured is actually used? Many programme reports we have seen have significant elements no longer used - but resources are still collecting the information because it's what they've always asked for.

  • Partially complete information is dangerous - many PMO's focus on collecting too much data resulting in incomplete or poor quality data. Decisions made on bad data results in focusing on the wrong migigating actions and ultimately lead to a higher risk of project failure. Spend your resource colleting a small amount of relevant and managable data and your critical decisions can be made with confidence.

  • Collaborate with projects - is your PMO helping projects to succeed or simply adding to the workload? A PMO that provides support to projects in their delivery is more likely contributing to successful delivery than those that simply monitor and report. Spending less time on wasteful processes gives more time to help delivery.

Without asking these questions regularly it is only a matter of time before your PMO becomes an industry in its own right, driving bad project behavior and ultimately undoing a lot of the good work the PMO is there to provide.

Why not talk to us about an independent review of your PMO, it’s processes and the value it is adding to your business? For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peter Weare

Industry leader in digital transformation. Passionate about delivering a frictionless consumer  experience. Regular commenter on getting delivery right.

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