What Do Executives Want From a PMO? A Crystal Ball

Crystal BallIn a recent blog post, we introduced the concept of putting some sizzle into your PMO. It’s all about giving executives what they want and desperately need.

So what do executives want? They want to know that their projects will be on time. They want to know what their projects will really cost. They want to know that they have adequate resources to get projects done and advance warning before things go sideways.

Since schedule and budget performance are closely tied with having adequate resources, let’s add some sizzle there first.

An effective PMO Director is part conjurer, part prognosticator, part soothsayer and part escape artist. The first three are key in predicting future resource constraints and skill shortages. A case in point:

A major insurance company recently implemented a PMO to help manage a large, multi-year system implementation project. The company utilized a shared service environment and experienced significant challenges with resource availability.

To solve the problem, the PMO implemented capacity-adjusted resource heat maps. These heat maps provide a visual representation of the resource challenges facing the program over the next nine months. The heat maps pinpoint those areas where demand exceeds capacity.

Project executives, armed with early warning of resource contention issues, address the challenges in time to avoid schedule delays and budget overruns. Best of all, this major piece of sizzle was cheap to produce. It was all done with MS Excel based on data in MS Project Server 2010.

How can you inject sizzle into your PMO? Next, we’ll explore how much process is good enough to make a PMO effective.

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