In tumultuous economic times, a project management office (PMO) is likely to come in line for belt-tightening and budget cuts. When your office faces a financial hit, you need to know how you can protect your PMO role.

No one wants to have to face potential redundancy. There are ways to ensure you’ll be one of the last in line to be laid off by ensuring that your work is vital to the running of the PMO and the success of the projects you work with.

To help you improve your performance at work and become a highly-valued team member, we’re going to:

  • Give you five top tips to add value to your PMO
  • Run through what each might look like in practice
  • Signpost you to where you can get more advice on each

Tip 1: Take the initiative

Life in a PMO can be built around processes and routines – pulling data, analysing project progress, and delivering regular reports. Projects have a predictable lifecycle, and you work along with them.

Whatever level you work at in a PMO, you still have the opportunity to make improvements. You can spot trends in data and suggest solutions or recognise duplicated actions and suggest how to streamline them.

Not only will coming up with ways to be more efficient have a positive impact on projects and your PMO results, you will have demonstrable positive actions to point to if you need to reapply for your role.

Tip 2: Build relationships

Having a strong network across the business you work in can add a lot of value to your role. You develop ways to get the job done and know who to work with when something is urgent or important.

A good network may be intangible, but it can make you valuable to your PMO. When you’re on good terms with your office stakeholders and know how to get the right data from a project, for example, your direct report will know you have uses beyond your outputs.

Tip 3: Make improvements

To build on our first tip, as well as giving suggestions and feedback to improve elements of your PMO, you can actually make them happen, too.

Maybe you can see that conversations about the project schedule are becoming convoluted and strained. You can design and run a workshop to hammer out the details over a half-day session and conclude the schedule in short order.

When you are empowered to make changes, execute them well and, you will be viewed as someone who doesn’t need hand-holding to get things working better.

Tip 4: Keep learning

Continuous improvement to your work skills will always be valuable. Whichever role you currently occupy in a PMO, it’s worth your time to learn more by:

  • Taking online courses
  • Asking people in different roles for the chance to shadow them
  • Updating professional qualifications such as PMP
  • Obtaining certifications for different skills

Not only do the extra skills make you better at your current role, but they will also help your career progress. What’s more, investing your time and energy into your education demonstrates to your leaders that you take your work seriously and are worth working with.

If the worst comes to the worst, and you do come in line for redundancy, the extra skills should make the job hunt that bit easier, too.

Tip 5: Exceed expectations

In your role, you will have KPIs – aim to exceed them. Your KPIs should be a bottom line for what you expect to offer in your role, and finding ways to go over and above will show you contribute more than needed to your PMO.

Keeping stretching yourself will mean you can always discuss with your leader how you add value. Just like every service your PMO offers needs to have a return on investment, you need to show why your salary is worth paying.

Make yourself invaluable in your PMO

Whatever the business outlook or wider economic situation, you should be able to survive budget cuts and lay-offs by being of vital importance to the business. We’ll be diving deeper into how to protect your PMO role in difficult economic times in future blog posts, exploring each tip in more depth.