The Project Management Office (PMO) is called the supportive backbone of an organisation for a reason. They are there to support your organisation through thick and thin. PMOs are the ultimate crisis management rescue team, not only for large-scale crises like a global pandemic but also for the everyday crises organisations face. From a key team member leaving to the loss of a critical supplier or even a high profile project setback, PMOs are constantly battling crises. So just how does the PMO help during a crisis?
Risk Management Alone is not Enough
Risk management tools and processes have developed very quickly over the past decade, with technology becoming even more intuitive and accurate by the day. However, all these advancements have not been able to completely remove risks with studies showing that major project failures are still occurring, particularly for megaprojects. As projects get bigger and more complex, even the advanced risk management technologies of today struggle to account for ongoing instability and the ever pressing pressures of time and costs.
The PMO plays a critical role in addressing issues of over-optimistic scheduling and cost estimations, lack of big-picture risk analysis and reporting challenges. Project portfolios are typically nonlinear and carry a significant amount of interdependencies that cannot easily be identified on individual project or even program levels. Without the overarching portfolio perspective, project risks are likely to roll onto more risks, leading to a domino effect that puts projects into a crisis.
The PMO is uniquely positioned to give organisations the birds-eye view of their activities, provide them with the necessary structure to give teams confidence and chart a clear route out of crisis.
8 ways the PMO supports Organisations During Times of Crises
1. Giving stability and security through accelerated project governance
The PMO is the standardization and process hub of an organisation. When projects are hit with a crisis, the PMO is able to provide the clear steps and guide teams through the proper processes to make sure they can find the footing. With a robust project governance structure,
no team member will be left floundering for their next steps, giving them the necessary agility to tackle crises early on.
2. Communicating clearly with teams and stakeholders
Clear communication is absolutely necessary when a crisis hits. However, while many organisations may have their internal communications sorted, they can often sideline external stakeholders. The PMO can ensure that all stakeholders are being communicated with effective, simple and timely messages to keep them aligned with the organization’s overarching strategic objectives and crisis management strategy to maintain unity.
3. Prioritizing the right projects
In times of crisis, it can be tempting to simply drop your projects and tighten your portfolio. The PMO plays a critical role of collating all the necessary data to give key decision makers an accurate view of their entire portfolio and allow them to prioritize the right projects. Without it, organisations could be making blind guesses and cancel out projects that may, in the broader perspective of things, bring the most value to the organisation. Strategic alignment is often tossed to the side for immediate cost savings and risk mitigation, but these choices have the potential to backfire in the long term if not backed with the right data.
4. Optimizing organisation resource management
A crisis often results in an extensive reshuffling of resources that can either lead to massive resource cuts or capacity overloads for pre-existing teams. As the central hub, the PMO can reorganize resources not just across projects, but the entire portfolio to make sure they are being allocated to the most important and necessary activities. With the help of proper PPM software, this resource management process can be done quickly and in real-time to minimize resource and time wastage during the key moments of crisis mitigation and recovery.
5. Elevating an organisation’s risk management
As mentioned prior, risk management has advanced significantly and the PMO is able to elevate an organisation’s risk management by collating it across the organisation’s entire portfolio. It plays a critical role in pre-emptive risk management by identifying all the potential risks and clearly mapping out the proper processes to help effectively evaluate, prioritize and resolve the risks. With the help of smart tools such as RAID logs, the PMO can help build extensive risk response plans that can significantly reduce ongoing risks during times of crisis.
6. Supporting decision making with real-time accurate data
During a crisis, decisions have to be made quickly and confidently. That is why real-time reporting and holistic visibility over your portfolio is extremely crucial because with better data you can make better decisions. As the strategic hub of an organisation, the PMO is often an
organisation’s repository for project data while also monitoring the everyday vitals of the portfolio and can give key decision makers all the necessary data to make informed decisions. This further emphasizes the importance of cloud-based PPM systems like pmo365 that can offer PMOs and organisations the most accuracy, visibility and control over their portfolio.
7. Maintaining strong collaborative culture
The PMOs value is not only in processes and communication, but in managing people and culture. When things hit the fans, teams can quickly revert to an ‘every man for himself’ mentality leading to a breakdown of communication and unity. With its role as the supportive backbone, the PMO helps maintain a strong culture of collaboration and integration to make sure teams are openly sharing and working together to solve their issues.
8. Gathering lessons learnt to improve future crisis management strategies
The PMO plays an important role for future pre-emptive risk management measures by learning from crises and adapting the current processes to properly accommodate for these specific scenarios. Through documentation of lessons learned and open sharing of best practices, PMOs can build a more robust and sustainable organisation that can better weather the challenging crises.
Don’t wait for the crisis, be ready for it
Crises are increasing in frequency and severity. Organisations can no longer afford to wait and respond to each crisis as they come. The PMO plays a pivotal role in creating pre-emptive and responsive plans to negate its effects and guide the organisation through challenging times. In order to do so, PMOs need the right PPM solution to give them the agility and control when you need it.
Pmo365’s solutions are built to give you complete control and visibility over your portfolio so you can take the wheel in times of crisis. Make sure to book a free trial with us to see how we can take your PMO and its crisis management activities to the next level.