Many project management offices (PMOs) monitor whether their projects are hitting goals and achieving outcomes, or complying. Choosing your PMO model as a compliance office can be useful, but will a compliance PMO work for your business?

It should be the aim of every PMO to have projects delivered successfully, on time, and on budget – the difference between them is how that’s achieved. In this article, we’ll look at how a compliance PMO can make your office meet this need by looking at:

  • The aims of a compliance PMO
  • How to measure the success with a compliance PMO
  • When you should be considering this type of PMO

What does a compliance PMO do?

The role of a compliance PMO is to ensure projects meet all the targets set in the planning stages. Compliance generally falls into three categories, namely:

  • Budget – is the project working within spending limits, reporting the spending and hours worked correctly, and submitting requests for extra resources in the right way?
  • Deadlines – are milestones consistently being hit and are deliverables being monitored regularly to ensure they’re on track?
  • Quality – what testing is being carried out to confirm the deliverables are fit for purpose and is feedback being sought from stakeholders at each point of delivery?

To make sure these tasks are met, a compliance PMO needs to gather data and produce reports. There will be reports that project managers fill in and other monitoring data from online systems. These need to be collated into dashboards and reports to that the project team and the C-suite can see the projects progressing successfully.

How does a compliance PMO measure success?

As with every PMO, the projects they work with will have a set of KPIs and the office itself will have its own set of targets, too. Accurately measuring the KPIs of projects, and having the right KPIs in place, will mean the right elements of projects are focussed on.

In order to make sure projects are complying to KPIs, the right data needs to be monitored. Be sure that every target set has a set of information to define it. Data needs to be reported often so that any projects that aren’t complying to standards can be assisted.

What happens when a project isn’t in compliance?

When a project isn’t hitting its targets, it’s up to the PMO to bring it back to compliance. It’s important to have project management best practices available for each KPI so that you can offer support and tips to help the project manager get back on track.

Training should also be offered by a compliance PMO. This could be a refresher on how to ensure processes are being followed or even upskilling team members to be able to complete new tasks in the project.

Ensuring the right resources are available will also make sure that a project is able to comply with the standards that are set.

How to deal with a project that’s not following procedures?

A project manager who isn’t in compliance with your processes and procedures isn’t always doing something wrong. Understand what they’re doing instead and whether it is successful.

For example, a manager may be doing regular less-formal feedback for their team rather than a weekly one to one. If this is a successful model for providing feedback, the compliance PMO should consider whether it should be rolled out across projects rather than kiboshed.

What are the use cases for a compliance PMO?

Getting your projects to all be working in the same way can feel like a massive challenge. If you have recently merged projects or your business has recently acquired another organisation with different project styles, a compliance PMO will harmonise your projects.

Similarly, a compliance PMO should whip projects into shape that don’t have standardised data reporting. A business needs solid data to make informed decisions, so having an office that produces data about complying with KPIs across projects offers great value.

The take home

Knowing whether a compliance PMO will work for you will depend on what you want from your office. This type of PMO will ensure that the targets set for your projects are being met and produce data to confirm it. It’s not a static, number-crunching office, it should also be supporting projects that aren’t complying to get them back up to scratch.

It works in businesses that have had lots of projects working on different terms in the past or when two businesses with different project styles come together.