Many project management offices (PMOs) are initially set up to improve the overall governance of projects. One of the eight fundamental principles of good governance that you should apply within your PMO is to build consensus.

Building consensus means you need to open up communication channels and ensure that the right people are brought into processes and decisions. You’ll see great stakeholder engagement and fewer conflicts and HR issues.

To help you understand how to build consensus across and within projects, we’re going to explore the benefits of working on consensus building and the ways in which you can embed the idea into your PMO and the projects you manage.

Why does a PMO need to work on building consensus?

For your PMO, building consensus means that you need to keep stakeholders happy and on-board with projects and how you work with them. The people who you will need to build consensus with would include:

  • Project managers, for example, when asking them to share resources or compromise on time or budget.
  • Project workers, such as when you need them to collaborate within their team or across the business.
  • The C-suite, who need to be kept on-board with your PMO’s work and mission.
  • External stakeholders, who you’ll need to make sure they understand the project scope and communication processes.

It’s important that everyone within and around projects is happy with what is going to happen on a project. Without consensus, you will have tensions, lower productivity, and potentially a project that’s delivered over-budget and too late.

Other reasons why you want to make sure that decisions are built around a general consensus include:

  • Effective decision making, because you won’t have people trying to hold up and action.
  • Decision acceptance, which will make sure that projects can move on from a difficult choice.
  • Increased trust and collaboration, meaning people working on projects will respect those involved in a decision when there is agreement.

How can a PMO build consensus and increase good governance?

Building consensus around your projects and the work of your office is something you need to continually work at. Some of these actions you may already do, and others you should work towards implementing within your PMO’s tasks.

You can work on building consensus by:

  • Running workshops to handle difficult questions or problems in projects. Bring stakeholders together to work through a specific issue and find an answer that everyone understands and contributed to.
  • Having clear communication channels makes sure that everyone knows how to get involved with decisions. Ensure that everyone is added to the right email threads, communication channels, and software tools.
  • Use collaborative decision-making processes, and make sure that all decisions are documented to resolve any issues or tensions later on in the project.
  • Have a process at hand for conflict resolution. Work with your human resources department as well when a conflict arises, to ensure everything is documented accurately and done considering the best interests of everyone.
  • Use feedback mechanisms that workers and stakeholders can easily access. You should make sure that feedback should be two-way so that your PMO can be seen to take on suggestions as well as implement changes.

The importance of consensus building within your PMO

It may not be possible to make sure everyone is friends and gets on within your projects and PMO. However, you can work to make sure people respect each other and the decisions that are made by building consensus.

You will be able to better govern your projects when there is a clear consensus for the actions that are taken between project managers, workers, business leaders, and external stakeholders. You need to build consensus to ensure good PMO governance.