How to measure a PMO?

Before delving into how a PMO should be measured, it is necessary to review why it is important to talk about it. PMO is defined as the Project Management Office, where its primary objective is to manage and centralize projects so that the company's initiatives are satisfactorily fulfilled.
It is a practice that is increasing, and more and more companies adhere to this centralized management proposal where a team trained in project management, with a leading head, guide, standardize, and evaluate each initiative that is executed in the organization. That said, the PMO is a team dedicated exclusively to this management that works hand in hand with each project leader to optimize results in terms of time, quality, and productivity.

Updated on June 14, 2023

Blog >     How to measure a PMO?

One of the main characteristics of this initiative is the knowledge of this type of management tools by each member of the company, this in order to properly interpret the responsibilities generated by acquiring a PMO methodology and that beyond seeing it as an increase in the workload is seen as a benefit for compliance with the objectives of each project leader.

The Project Management Institute (PMI TM), is the leading institution in Project Management and this in turn generates knowledge through the PMBoK that are standards to guide organizations in this type of methodologies. Likewise, the Institute presents the Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) that shows 3 dimensions for companies to establish standardized policies and processes to ensure that their operations are consistent with the goals:

  • Mastery of management,

  • Practice of improvement processes

  • Project Management Processes.

These dimensions provide a series of standard steps that allow measuring organizational maturity in project management and is summarized in the following premise: the greater the organizational maturity, the better practices. In the same way, this model presents concepts of capabilities, results, and performance indicators.

Why adopt a PMO in my company?

While having a PMO implies a challenge in its implementation, there are several reasons why it is worth incorporating it into organizational processes. For this, it is essential to follow the standards already established by the institutions that certify the training, regardless of whether it is a small, medium or large company. Mentioned below are its main advantages:

It standardizes projects so information can be compared across all enterprise projects

It increases profitability. Since at the central level you know what the global missional objectives are, and you can define which projects have priority and which you can be flexible with.

Better planning. Since all key business areas are under the control of the PMO in which well-defined monitoring methods are proposed

It stimulates the generation of new ideas in the company, which enhances its competitiveness.

It is agile. The needs of the company are quickly responded to through a systematic but specific method.

It ensures that company members are aligned with the company's goals

It presents measurable and comparable results which the effectiveness of the PMO and the projects can be measured with under this methodology

Experiences of a PMO in the health sector        

The health sector is no stranger to the benefits that a PMO can provide. According to the publication article The Role of Project Management Office in Public Health: A New Approach for Establishment in Iran of 2016, it is mentioned that according to the PMI (2015) in the global survey of project management professionals only 19% of projects are delivered on time, 18% remain within budget, and 15% meet high quality levels, therefore, the importance of implementing a PMO is highlighted.

This article mentions several fields in health that can be improved with the use of a PMO, for example, vaccination programs, mental health, telemedicine, public policies for health programs and integration of electronic health records. In this sense, this methodology has been mainly used in the context of clinical research and highlights the following needs when implementing a PMO in the health sector

  • Definition of essential projects and prioritization of objectives

  • Well-structured procedures manuals that contemplate initiation, planning, control, and monitoring of all projects

  • Monitoring of results in terms of time, cost, risk, and quality

  • Widespread knowledge of learned lessons

  • Periodical analysis of project effectiveness rates

  • Implementation of key performance indicators for monitoring and analysis

In this review, two different PMO methodologies are proposed: one in which it is only responsible for management support and services and another one where all the information is handled, in which integrated reports are handled. This brings up the different types of PMO according to the needs of the organizations where you can use a fully centralized model responsible for monitoring, guidance, evaluation, monitoring, and promotion of projects, as well as hybrid models where only information and support to project leaders is handled.

Another PMO and health experience “The Best of Both Models Key Components of a Successful Hybrid Project Management Office Model in a Health Care Organization” published by Giasson in 2019 shows how a Health Institution dedicated to the management of mental illness adopted a hybrid PMO model in which decentralized project leaders participated. In this model the team grew from 2 to 45 people in one year. Some specific measurement indicators were defined for their need, including:

  • 100% adherence to PMO methodology

  • 100% of the information is available on a monthly basis

  • 100% collection of learned lessons found in a repository

  • 90% of those who requested project management coaching did so within the first 2 days

  • 25% increase in annual increase in PM knowledge measured through surveys

  • Objectives for PMs’ adoption

All operational projects included a member of the PM Network. As results mention a 70% improvement in adherence, the availability of complete data improved by 50%, requests to the PMO team increased by 22% in one year and also 100% of respondents agreed that knowledge in PM increased according to their organizational role. So, the balance is quite good for this implementation strategy in the health sector.

How to measure a PMO?

Now, surely, with what has been described above, some key points to measure a PMO are already recognized, this is a crucial phase since it allows executing the improvements required by the process. In principle, it is essential to generate a list of indicators that support the evaluation of projects, however, there is no standardized list to evaluate them because each objective is different in each company, therefore, these must be created based on the mission of the same reference on the priorities already established by the PMO.

In this sense, in a PMI publication "Demonstrating Value and Measuring Success through Planned Management", it indicates that there are three aspects that must be measured in the PMO:

  1. Business measurements. This depends on the current mission of the organizations and shows how the projects carried out meet that objective. They depend on missionary processes and must be created according to the characteristics of the company

  2. Operational measurements. They also vary according to the procedures manuals of each company. These metrics include quality indicators (Key Performance Indicators, KPIs)

  3. Evaluation of the PMO’s value. Which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the PMO approach. This is a critical point given that the true value of a PMO can be questioned because the results of the projects are attributed more to the program than to the management of the PMO, for this reason it is important to demonstrate the value it generates to the business through metrics based on clear and prioritized objectives (three or five projects) made based on typical problems that the company has so that it can later be demonstrated a "before and after" of these objectives following the adoption of a PMO

Another article published in 2016, "How to measure the PMO's success? " highlights the importance of three aspects when demonstrating the value of the PMO in the business unit:   

Time. Every lost minute will impact the outcome of the projects, so you must have a schedule established from the beginning of the planning to the end of the process.

Project delivery rate. It is necessary to know the average delivery of annual projects (for example, in the last 3 years) in order to demonstrate the increase in that average after the PMO was established in the company. It usually comes in percentages.

Benefits management. It is important to measure the benefits obtained with each achieved success, especially because not all benefits are the same for all projects, so they must be measured to know the effects they have on the organization.

Return on investments. Measuring the return on investment of each project is important so that you can detect the reasons why you are not able to meet that return and thus make decisions to avoid that same problem in the future.

In conclusion, there are 4 key concepts to measure a PMO published in PM Majik, a website specialized in project management:

  1. Reflect on the goals of the PMO and why it was created in the first place.

  2. For each primary goal, select a metric that illustrates when the goal has been achieved.

  3. Establish a process for capturing and regularly tracking these metrics.

  4. Report progress regularly.

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