Project Management Office (PMO)

How sound is your Project Management Strategy

Project management is filled with obstacles and challenges in the successful completion of a given project. Although many of these challenges possess unique characteristics to each project’s respective industry, project management offices (PMOs) will face three common problems.

Changes in Project Scope Challenge a PMO

An ideal project would clearly define expectations and scope prior to starting a project. However, project management is not inherently ideal. As the project grows and adapts to demands, which may be the result of changes in risk management, the scope of the project may become larger. As a result, the original timeframe and deadline schedule may be incapable of meeting the new requirements, and budget constraints will become more evident.

To prevent project creep, PMOs need to consider what changes may impact the overall course of a given project. For example, a PMO may extend all project deadlines by 30, additional days to account for inclement weather. Alternatively, the PMO may make recommendations on the best course of action to take if a project appears to deviate from the planned deadlines.

Project Sponsorship Changes Evoke Challenges Throughout a PMO

Sometimes, a company’s goals and direction change. Unfortunately, this means a project management team’s work could be placed on the proverbial backburner. For extensive, lengthy projects, such as those in the oil and gas industry, a PMO needs to be ready and willing to adapt to a company’s demands. However, these demands must be within reason.

Asking a PMO to complete all projects within five days would be impossible, so the PMO needs to maintain full accountability and documentation to show current projects’ progress and value to the organization. Failing to maintain this degree of accountability may result in the failure of multiple projects.

Problems in Resources Define the Third Challenge

Regardless of executive-level leadership and financial support, a project is only as good as the amount of available resources. If material or labor resources suddenly change, the goal of the project may be threatened. Yet, a PMO cannot reasonably purchase all materials and hire additional workers when not needed.

This resolution for this problem rests with careful analysis of project tasks and activities and effective risk management. The PMO needs to understand what factors may influence resources throughout the project. Furthermore, a comprehensive risk analysis should be a routine, frequent process within a PMO. This will minimize losses from changes in resource availability and enhance deadline adherence.

By understanding how primary challenges will affect a PMO, PMO managers can work to reduce, if not eliminate, these threats. In an ideal world, these challenges would never arise. However, the world of project management will never be ideal, and preparing for these problems in advance can mean the difference between project success and failure.