PMOs face a whole slate of complex challenges in today’s world of accelerating change and transformation. Issues like a lack of project and portfolio visibility, disconnected tooling and administrative overheads can severely impact the effectiveness of the PMO.
Our PMO trends Scorecard surveyed over 100 PMO professionals to understand the biggest challenges and triumphs of today’s modern PMO.
The survey was brief, and this was deliberate. It was not intended to be exhaustive, rather the aim was to measure the pulse of the industry and snapshot key patterns, which in turn will allow us to offer some direction for enhancing how PMOs work. Respondents were asked to apply a score of 1 to 5 to a series of questions, where 5 represents the most positive assessment.
The project demand process is not as efficient as it could be for most PMOs. While a majority of PMOs stated that their intake process is well defined, only 1 in 4 completely agree (i.e. apply a score of 5) that their process is timely and transparent. The risk here is of course that transformation is slowed down, as projects are held up in the pipeline.
Project portfolio management software is a major concern for PMOs. In our survey, less than half of the respondents said they were able to use a combination of tools and track progress effectively. Disconnected or badly implemented tools can prevent organisations from adopting a data driven approach that reduces admin overhead and delivers valuable insights.
Project and PMO governance is a key remit of the PMO. For a number of questions relating to this topic, only about half of respondents gave a score of 4 or 5. When only half of PMO professionals agree that they have an agreed set of project control documents that are easy to find, then this should be cause for concern.
Again only around half say they are able to respond promptly to executive requests for data – 1 in 5 state that they are unable to do this on a timely basis.
However, there is one result of the survey that may come as a shock: only 1 in 5 fully agree that their PMO is acknowledged for delivering value to their organisation.
Handling project demands and requests is a critical aspect of running a successful PMO. Without a clear process to manage incoming requests from different parts of the organisation, PMOs can struggle to bring crucial projects to fruition. In our survey, we learned there’s still room for improving the overall process.
59% of PMO professionals say they have a well-defined process to gather requests from the business (giving this a score of 4 or 5, with 5 being ‘totally agree’).
However, for most PMOS deciding which projects to accept is a time-consuming process that often isn’t transparent to key stakeholders. Less than a quarter of PMO professionals (23%) completely agree that they assess and approve/reject project requests in a timely fashion while keeping requestors informed of progress.
A significant number, 38% of respondents, are not satisfied that their project investment decisions are rational and aligned to organisational strategy.
of PMO professionals agree that they assess and approve/reject project requests in a timely fashion.
The right project portfolio management software can help to bring about a data driven culture, translating data into tangible business value. In our survey we found:
47% of PMO professionals say their teams can use a variety of work management and collaboration tools, and still, the PMO retains visibility of milestones and progress. However, only 15% of PMO professionals totally agree that Project managers have efficient tools to track their projects and submit status reports, avoiding double-entry and time-wasting admin.
Only 30% of respondents say that project information maintained by project managers flows directly into portfolio reports without PMO manipulation.
of PMO professionals say their teams can use a variety of work management and collaboration tools.
of PMO professionals totally agree that Project managers have efficient tools to track their projects.
of respondents say that project information maintained by project managers flows directly into portfolio reports.
The PMO makes sure that projects and programmes are run in a repeatable, standardised way. Our survey asked questions relating to typical governance aspects, and the results indicate a mixed bag of maturity levels.
52% of PMO professionals have an agreed set of project control documents and it’s easy for the PMO to find them and assess their status (scoring 4 or 5).
Risk management fares better, 65% of PMO professionals say they capture risks at project, programme and portfolio level. They can escalate and report them within an effective management process.
Two-thirds of respondents put a score of 3 or less to their ‘Lessons Learned’ process and its value to future projects in driving continuous improvement.
22% of industry professionals say they cannot apply governance equally to projects of different types and delivery methodologies (score 1 or 2).
One-fifth of PMO professionals say they can’t respond to executive requests for information rapidly as they don’t have data at hand.
have an agreed set of project control documents.
say they capture risks at project, programme and portfolio level.
of respondents put a score of 3 or less to their Lessons Learned process.
Only 19% of those we surveyed completely agree (with a 5 score) that the PMO is recognised for the value it delivers to the organisation, as it is safeguarding successful project delivery, return on investment and compliance. While another 30% would apply a more cautious score of 4, that leaves about half of respondents scoring this with a 3 or less, which indicates that the PMO is still fighting for recognition in many organisations.
completely agree (with a 5 score) that the PMO is recognised for the value it delivers.
would apply a more cautious score of 4.
of respondents scoring this with a 3 or less.
When half of respondents say that their PMO is not recognised for the value it delivers, this is not a happy message. We know that communicating the role of the PMO and its strategic significance can be challenging when even project management itself sometimes isn’t appreciated as a distinct profession. This clearly continues to be a key mission for the PMO.
But looking at some of the responses overall might give us a clue why for PMOs it may be hard to win the recognition they deserve. All too often, PMO capability is hampered by disconnected tools and too much effort is lost with inefficient administration and manual manipulation of data. If we still struggle with document management and the delivery of executive reporting, then it may be time to reconsider how we work and the tools we use.
How would you rate your PMO? The survey remains open so you can take our scorecard to see where you rank.
If you’d like to optimise your PMO, learn how you can take advantage of the opportunities on Microsoft’s Power Platform.