A PMO invests a considerable amount of time and effort designing and implementing standard processes. However, in order for them to work it and be effective, the processes must be embedded. Just publishing a process document with supporting templates is not enough. Has the change been adopted and being actively used?
A PMO should not be re-active, it should run like a machine, executing a number of core repeatable processes supporting reporting, RAIDs management, change control, etc. This can only be achieved if the processes have been developed to the minimum level and embedded.
Take a moment to think about your current PMO environment.
- Are the processes robust and complete?
- Have they been fully embedded with all parties executing to the same standard?
- Is the standard and outcome the same regardless of who is executing the process?
- Are the processes documented to sufficient level so that any team member can take the guide / checklist and execute the process without training?
- Are the documented processes up to date and reflect the current process?
Given the typical pace within a PMO and competing priorities, I imagine that “No” will be the answer to one or more. The reason being that maintaining process documents is seen as an overhead with other items being more important. However, if the process documents are not up to date, it creates a very big risk and reduces the opportunities for efficiencies.
For example, if the PMO team members are focused on specific areas, there is a risk that when they go on holiday, are off due to sickness or, decide to leave the organisation, you will suddenly have a big gap in your PMO. By ensuring that all of the PMO processes are documented with clear flows, ownership, timelines, etc, this will mean that the knowledge of the process can be shared and is not just in the mind of the team member. So if the resource is out of the office for any reason, other team members should be able to pick-up the process document and execute.
The logical extension of this is to cross train team members. This means that multiple team members can pick up the process without an issue providing natural cover. This is a very good solution where a PMO is being run on an budget and does not allow for additional resources to be added. Having well documented processes also forms a good base if you should ever want to move the process to an offshore location.
Part of the PMO’s role is to implement standard tools and processes. The same should apply to their own process documents.
- Create a standard template that can be used across the different PMO Functions.
- Implement a review and sign-off process
- Schedule regular review and update check points to ensure documents are up to date
- Create a standard for how and where the documents are stored
- Implement a resource rotation policy to ensure cross training on policies (very important for small teams)
The steps outlined above are not complicated. In fact they are common sense. However, by taking the time to build this into how the team operates will greatly improve performance, efficiency and reduce the risk. This should mean that your team and yourself can take and enjoy much deserved holidays.