“The PMO is not an operational entity with a set of work instructions and pre-defined goals
and objectives. The PMO should really take the time to understand the context it’s a part of.”
—Jihan AlSherif, PMP, Qatar Airways, Doha, Qatar
tions keep their PMOs focused, improve their
effectiveness and ensure they’re supporting—not
sinking—the bottom line.
Put it in Context
Jihan AlSherif, PMP, head of PMO at Qatar Airways, Doha, Qatar, witnessed firsthand how a
PMO can fail when it is isolated from the business
it supports. In that case, the role of the PMO was
not understood or communicated, and it was more
focused on the process of project management than
delivering on the organization’s goals.
To avoid such a scenario, Ms. AlSherif recom-
mends engaging with business owners to ensure the
PMO’s work aligns with the organization’s strategic
goals. Particularly during the first six months after
launch, the PMO’s leadership should hold regular
alignment meetings to better understand the orga-
nization’s history, politics, and past successes and
failures—and to get to know its people.
“Be nimble, flex- ible and realign continuously with your organization’s trategy. Processes are necessary, of course, but be results-oriented rather than only process-driven.” —Frederic Casagrande, PMP
Once the PMO’s strategic goals have been defined,
its leaders need to outline the standards, processes
and practices that projects across the organization will follow. Yet, while standardization gives
a PMO the tools it needs to run like a well-oiled
machine, empowering project managers to custom-ize processes to meet their immediate needs can
also improve efficiency, says Jaynee Lafferty, senior
program manager at Kongsberg Oil and Gas Technologies, Houston, Texas, USA.
“There should be a well-disciplined framework
with performance expectations, but it should not
constrain collaborative or iterative delivery,” she says.
In addition, project leaders should regularly
revisit the standards they put in place to see what’s
working, what’s not and what additional needs may
need to be addressed.
“Be nimble and flexible, and realign continuously
with your organization’s strategy,” Mr. Casagrande
says. “Processes are necessary, of course, but be
results-oriented rather than only process-driven.”
Ms. Lafferty points to measurement and accountability as the primary drivers of an effective PMO.
Project managers are self-monitoring, metrics are
built into the delivery tools and an expectation of
continuous improvement is built into the culture.