Having the perfect schedule for the work in your project management office (PMO) is a great start, but to complete our guide to PMO time management, controlling issues needs to be addressed.

Every schedule will have imperfections and it’s up to the leader of a PMO to establish problems and find ways to control for them and resolve them. Just like your PMO schedule, monitoring adherence and controlling when things go off-track will be an ongoing exercise – unlike a project which will have an end date.

Here, we’re going to get into how to solve scheduling issues by looking at:

  • How to identify issues with your schedule
  • Understanding the root cause of the issue
  • Finding solutions and controlling problems

So you can keep your PMO schedule on track.

How do I know my PMO schedule isn’t working?

Once your PMO schedule is in planned and implemented, you need to be regularly monitoring it. Having your team report on their timekeeping and checking whether all tasks are delivered on time will quickly surface issues.

Some of the signs that your PMO time management isn’t working to its optimum:

  • Tasks regularly overrunning the time allocated to them
  • Team members often not hitting their schedule or having to rush through tasks
  • Deadlines being missed for reports or other pieces of work
  • Tasks often being added the schedule at short notice
  • Employees experiencing signs of burnout

You’ll be able to establish some of these through looking at PMO data and the reports that are produced about scheduling. For others, you’ll need to ensure you’re interacting with your team and having regular performance reviews.

How can I find the reason for the problems with my PMO schedule?

Each challenge that comes up in your schedule will be driven by a different issue. It’s vital you get to the root cause to be able to adequately resolve it.

You will find answers in two main ways:

  1. Looking at data
  2. Asking your team

Sometimes, it will be clear why an issue comes up, such as a project that has had a change in scope or deadline pulling on your PMO resources and you’ve not yet adjusted the schedule to reflect the need.

However, the data won’t always have the answer. When there are problems with getting work done on time in your office, you’ll need to ask the people who are using the schedule what the problem is. This could be as simple as a quick five-minute chat or as in-depth as workshops and one-to-one meetings.

Approach the investigation with an open mind – you may identify deeper issues with your team member or a process that’s not working as it should that could take time to fix. It’s worth putting in the work to find causes now rather than letting them fester.

How do I solve time management issues in my PMO?

Every problem that crops up with your schedule will have different causes – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

However, there are some general ideas you can consider that should cover a range of scenarios, such as:

  • Offering more training – tasks taking longer than expected or deadlines being missed can often be caused when a person is struggling with their work. Ensuring they know how to use the technology they need and have the process knowledge necessary can reduce bottlenecks.
  • Collaborating with other departments – if tasks and requests come from other departments at short notice that you can’t plan for, you many need to troubleshoot why they can’t make timely requests. You can work with them to develop processes that don’t squeeze resources.
  • Upskilling project teams – projects that need extra support or force deadlines to be missed may need extra help, such as training for workers and additional resources.
  • Having outsourced options available – sometimes, the quick solution to control schedule issues is to have more labour available. When you need help at short notice, being able to outsource admin can help keep your schedule on track.

Controlling issues of PMO time management

A schedule can’t be perfect, but it should be a reasonable reflection of the work needed and how long it should take. Problems are bound to arise at some point and controlling those problems so they don’t affect your office long-term is important. How to control issues with your PMO schedule is the final part of the puzzle of PMO time management.