Your project management office (PMO) has a lot of data to deal with and a lot of people to communicate to. Using illustrations in your PMO can help make both tasks more accessible, and ultimately more successful.

Illustrations might feel like something your marketing team use to deliver a message. There are so many messages that your PMO needs to get across, whether to your project managers, C-suite, or the wider business, and illustrations can get these across.

To help you understand the benefits of illustrations to your PMO, we’re going to look at using them for:

  1. Communicating process changes
  2. Pitching
  3. PMO branding
  4. Icons in systems and communications
  5. Boosting infographics

1.      Rolling out process changes

Your PMO will have a wide range of processes to follow. From reporting budgets to completing a Scrum sprint, you’ll have lots of things that need to have a similar framework each time.

Process maps are all well and good, but lots of people need something more visual. You can use videos to demonstrate what a system will look like, but that can be time consuming when a team member just needs to check a detail.

Illustrate your process maps with wireframes of what your new software will look like, or how a new form needs to be filled in. Your team will be thankful for a clear point of reference.

2.      Pitching your PMO

If you PMO follows the business-focussed model, you will be used to pitching the projects you want to run through your office. Using illustrations in your pitch will be able to show outcomes that aren’t purely data focussed.

You might want to run a project to improve the look of the office, or buy in new hardware. Illustrating what this looks like, as well as explaining the financial benefits, will be more persuasive.

Even if your PMO is ran along more traditional lines, using illustrations when discussing your achievements with your board can be useful. When your projects have delivered a better-looking or working product, an illustration of this can speak for 100 data points.

3.      Brand your PMO

An illustration can be very stylised and specific to your PMO. You can build a brand for your PMO through using illustrations, which can help when you work within a large company.

Use your branded illustrations on communications like:

  • Presentations
  • Blog posts 
  • Infographics
  • Intranet and internet pages
  • Handbooks
  • Training courses

This will ensure that the business is aware of your PMO and what it does, demonstrating your wider value.

Having a character or a specific look and feel to your communications will make your office stand out.

4.      Personalised icons

There are lots of places you may need to have different icons. When you have different web- or cloud-based systems for your project managers or wider team to use, you’ll need to make it clear how to access these.

Illustrating icons on your website, having an icon associated with your different KPIs, and having an icon on bespoke or tailored software can make it more accessible. Harness the power of skeuomorphism – having icons look like their real-world actions, like the floppy disk save icon – so that you can communicate across languages.

Having a clock illustration as the icon for your hour-logging app, for example, will make it very easy for everyone to understand at a glance.

5.      Improve your PMO infographics

Infographics can be a valuable addition to your communication arsenal for your PMO. As well as using data in your infographics, you can make them more visually appealing by adding illustrations.

Along with graphs and charts representing data, you can add images that compliment or even incorporate the information. You’ll grab the attention of the people your infographic targets, and it’ll be much more memorable for them.

The take home

The idea of illustrations might evoke ideas of cartoons and playfulness. You can choose to go down this route if that matches with the company you work with, but illustrations can be formal and professional, too.

Having bespoke icons or PMO-branded presentation backgrounds are some of the ways illustrations in your PMO can set you apart within the business and to offices in other companies. Illustrations engage people with your communications more, therefore making it easier to demonstrate your value.