PMO Opportunities For Continuous Improvement

Ken Martin
By | Updated November 19, 2015 | 5 min read
change management

As part of the project management office’s strategy for continuous improvement, a PMO should aim to focus more on the business impact of projects than its traditional role of project oversight of processes, standards, and lessons learned.


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The PMO will improve its own operations by measuring its effectiveness, implementing changes to existing services, and adding new services.


PMO Opportunities for Continuous Improvement

A PMO’s value must be measurable to become sustainable as PMOs often have a short-term opportunity to show its ability to create value before it is restructured or closed down.

The PMO must be integrated into the business, with a clear understanding of the business strategy and goals, and how effective portfolio management and the successful implementation of the right projects can make a real difference to an organization’s success.

There are a number of  “Quick Win” opportunity areas for continuous improvement that can be facilitated by the PMO:

  • Business case development
  • Portfolio management
  • Project management and implementation
  • PM processes support value delivery
  • Risk management
  • Benefits management.


Other PMO Opportunities for Continuous Improvement

Here is a list of other PMO Opportunities for Continuous Improvement.

1) Organizational Capability

  • The PMO can assess the overall capability of the organization to reliably deliver acceptable project results on time and within budget.
  • It can then develop and carry out a long-term plan to improve that capability.



2) PMO Communications

  • Clear communications and effective use of change management practices are critical for successful changes to existing project processes and methodology by the PMO to make sure understanding and commitment from stakeholders and the senior management team.
  • Communicate the value of each change in a project management process or tool and highlight how it will help the projects to be more successful.



3) Embedded Processes

  • For a PMO to have sustainable success, it will need to work to have its processes embedded into the organization’s culture.
  • Working closely with senior management and HR, mechanisms to meet this goal should be discussed and agreed. For example, compliance with PMO policies and processes could be tied to performance reviews and bonuses for project managers and other project team members.



4) Mentoring and Training

  • As part of a continuous improvement program, a PMO has an excellent opportunity to improve the professionalism of the project management discipline within their organization.
  • Mentoring is a powerful medium for building relationships and sharing knowledge and experience within an organization but a key success factor for a PMO is to make sure that participation in mentoring is optional if it going to be a successful strategy.



5) Professional PM Certifications

  • In addition to mentoring, the PMO can drive the gaining of professional project management certifications such as PRINCE2 or PMP’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential by ensuring it is incorporated into project team member personal development training plans.



6) Lessons Learned and Project Closeout

  • An important part of the project management continuous improvement is for PMO to review the entire project lifecycle and find the lessons learned that can be fed back into the organization for future projects.
  • A PMO can aid in this process and add value by facilitating the process to make sure uniform capture of lessons learned.
  • A PMO providing this function will see recurring themes that it can share with the rest of the organization to improve project management.



6) PMO Metrics

Metrics should measure those aspects of PMO performance that are related to business goals and aims.

An effective PMO will improve the time to market by promoting better adherence to project schedules and in doing will improve customer satisfaction, improved trust in the project team, and a greater ability to accurately predict future project life cycles.

Example Measures

  • Improvements in project successes over time can be measured through a decrease in schedule and budget overruns
  • Increase stakeholder satisfaction with project management within the organization
  • Improvement in investment decision-making and project prioritization with a clearer picture of the project portfolio and resource management
  • 100% of projects align with organizational goals
  • The PMO contributes to a company’s ROI by making sure that projects are successfully completed according to the specifications.


If you cannot measure, you cannot control and if you cannot control, you cannot manage.


7) Program and Project Health Checks

Programme Health Checks are a valued added function for a PMO to improve the overall quality of programme management within an organization.

A PMO can consider a project to be a complete success with the following criteria:

  • Business objectives and project goals were achieved or exceeded.
  • A high-quality solution fully implemented and utilized.
  • Project delivery met schedule and budget targets.
  • Multiple project stakeholders are happy with the outcome of the project.
  • The project has resulted in added value and benefits to the organization.
  • Methods are in place for continual monitoring and evaluation.



8) Project Quality Auditing

  • A PMO can serve as a project auditor on issues related to inconsistencies in project reporting data or validating that effective systems are in place to track projects.
  • Auditing may involve periodic reviews of project progress reports and project plans to confirm that progress reported is an exact true state.
  • Based on audits, project managers and teams can be advised and mentored on how to manage and report on projects more effectively in alignment with best practices.
Ken Martin
Ken Martin

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