PMO – Friend or foe? La Oficina de Proyectos – ¿Amiga o enemiga?
By Blue Chip PM
In my time as a programme manager or senior project manager (15 years and counting!) I have worked in organisations that insist on using programme management offices to oversee the major IT and business projects. I have to admit that the first time I had to start filling out the extra templates and forms for a PMO I really couldn’t see why I was doing it and how my project could benefit. It seemed like all pain and no gain.
Fast forward a few years and I suddenly find myself running the reengineering PMO for a global financial services and travel company. The boot was now on the other foot; however I could suddenly see the benefit of the PMO set-up, not just to the corporate shareholders but to my previous role as the project manager. All those projects out there and a variety of information about excesses and shortages of time, money and personnel.
Moving forward another couple of years and I returned to running a programme of projects for the company in an area where funds are sometimes limited and ideas seemed to arrive with short notice. The need to move quickly was also not being met but the time old practice of identifying a good idea about 2 years before you could actually implement it. When my projects needed extra funding – or new ones cropped up mid-year – that’s when I turned to the PMO for help.
Although there were other programme managers like me that needed funds and resources, there seemed to be plenty more that were embarrassed by the funding at their disposal. Over-ambitious plans to build this new system or that were matched by generous budgets, but for one reason or another this year’s budget could not now be spent. Two thirds of the way through the financial year my projects could now use the PMO to find this unwanted funding and put it to good use as no corporate technology department wants to start handing funding back to its parent business so late in the year. They’re too worried that they won’t get what they want next year!
So as you fill out yet another template for your corporate PMO, remember to ask them nicely if there is anyone out there who needs help spending their money – you never know what you might get.