Balancing your project management office (PMO) resources is a constant challenge. Between aiming for efficiency and a positive working culture, you may find some of your team struggling to cope, so you need to understand when to hire new resources for your PMO.

A key function of many PMOs is resource planning. By having the right people available at the right time for projects, you can ensure that each one is delivered on time and on budget.

In the drive to make this happen, you still need to ensure you have the right resources to make your PMO function smoothly. To help you optimise the people in your office, we’re going to look at:

  • When you might find your PMO overcapacity
  • How to determine if it’s time to hire new people in your PMO
  • Options when you can’t hire new team members

Why is my PMO overcapacity?

With the best planning in the world, it is still possible to have a mismatch between resources and the work needed. Your PMO can be at overcapacity for a number of reasons, including:

  • Projects running over or under schedule
  • Projects becoming more complicated than anticipated
  • Stronger growth in the business than targeted
  • Personal issues with your resources

You need to ensure that your PMO can adapt to new paradigms as they happen. Being responsive to capacity needs will help prevent burnout with your team as well – if your people are overworked, they will become demotivated and potentially add to your capacity and productivity issues.

When is the right time to hire new PMO resources?

In an ideal world, you will be able to anticipate when you need to expand your PMO team ahead of time. To determine whether you do need to bring in new team members, you need to look at:

  • The PMO services or activities you offer. You should have a clear idea of exactly what your PMO is expected to deliver in terms of reports, support, training, and other activities.
  • The projects planned to begin in the next year. Knowing how many projects you need to be supporting will tell you how many people you need to provide the right services.
  • The current PMO headcount and skills. You need to understand what your team is currently capable of, what their skills currently are, and whether they are willing and able to expand in their current role.
  • The reality of the people in your PMO. On paper, a person may be skilled in certain areas, but they may need fresh training or someone could be having personal issues that affect their productivity. Remember to look at the humans behind the papers and files.

When your PMO is reaching capacity for the services you have committed to offer, you need to work with the HR department to begin the recruiting process. You can also offer training to existing team members and bring in a more junior role that may be easier to fill.

How can I manage resources when I can’t expand capacity?

Sometimes, there won’t be the budget in the business to be able to take on more team members. This will give you a situation where in the near future, you will have more work than your PMO is able to handle.

If this is the situation, you find yourself in need to re-evaluate the services that your PMO offers. Paring back on some “nice-to-have” services can let your team focus on the core needs that your PMO takes care of.

You may be able to push back some projects to reduce the capacity requirements. This will need to be part of a broader discussion with the C-suite to understand the role your office is expected to play.

Other business areas may be able to take on some tasks. For example, you could ask the project team to do some of your current data collection or pass some training requirements over to the HR team.

When to hire new resources for your PMO

Monitoring capacity should be second nature for a PMO. Keep an eye on what your office is expected to do and who you have available to do it. Hire new resources for your PMO when you anticipate there to be more work than resources, so there is never a need for other colleagues to pick up the slack.