When it comes to core competencies, planning, and organisation is where your project management office (PMO) should shine. The skills aren’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, so how can a PMO help project managers when it comes to planning and organisation?

You can expect the project managers (PMs) who run your projects to have a certain level of skill – they’ve made it to management level for a reason. However, not all of them will excel in planning and organisation as a skill so they will need support and training to get the job done.

Harmonising the way everyone plans and organises their projects will reap benefits, too. When the projects are all run in the same way, you will get consistent reporting. To help reach that point, we’re going to look at:

  • The critical planning and organisational skills your PMs need
  • What those skills look like
  • How to choose the training style and resource for each element

What are the key planning and organisational skills for project managers?

Project managers need to be able to plan and organise a project from beginning to final deliverable. They need to be able to effectively manage:

  • Time
  • Tools
  • Goals

To get the most efficient results from their team.

This is where your PMO comes in. You will already focus in managing these areas on your level so it should be easy to take those skills out to your PM team.

Let’s take a look at how these break down.

Time management skills for project managers

Time is probably the scarcest resource in any project. A good PM will be able to map out the project at different timescales – project, monthly, weekly – to ensure all the tasks are completed.

A strong grasp of the methodology your projects use is important here. Every style of management, from using Gantt charts, to Agile workflows and Kanban boards, are all based around working through time to get tasks completed.

Projects that have control over their timing will be delivered on-time, one of the key things your stakeholders want to see. Even being able to be honest and predict an overrun is useful.

To train time management skills, be sure to refresh your methodology training before each project. In a group session, deliver what needs to be accomplished with planning the time of a project. Once the project is over, debrief to see how well the plan was adhered to and offer structured examples of how to make improvements.

Tool management skill for project managers

You will provide lots of tools for your PMs to take advantage of when running their projects. Tools that you should be providing to your PMs include:

  • Software to manage people, time, and resources
  • Project methodologies
  • Process maps, procedures, and frameworks
  • Hardware, software, space, and people

Being able to handle each tool appropriately will get projects under your PMO functioning and delivering. Your PMO will already have worked to ensure the tools are fit for purpose and everyone using them correctly will get you the data and results you need.

The training you can offer will look different for different tools. The software will need hands-on, computer-based training to allow PMs to practice in a sandbox environment. Using your processes may be better trained in briefing sessions. Project methodologies, particularly when new, will benefit from structured training in a classroom to understand the intricacies with expert guidance.

Goal management for PMs

Each style of project management requires goals to be set. These are both in terms of time but also other achievements like budget adherence and process compliance.

Goals are managed through having and monitoring effective KPIs. Your PMs need to know the ins and outs of how each KPI is measured so they can communicate it to their teams and know how to produce a change to a failing measure.

You will have data visualisations, reports, and other communication methods for goal management. Train your PMs to use them through online training when it’s using a dashboard to see data and offsite session when you want to drill into how a manager can affect the KPIs of their team.

The take-home

Understanding how planning and organisation skills can be passed from a PMO to project managers will ensure your projects flow well. You will be able to see not only where a project is up to but if it is where it should be at that moment. Strong planning will also ensure the right resources and tools are ready to be deployed.