The bigger your enterprise, the more critical it is that project data gathering and reporting provide actionable information. In the case of the PMO (project/programme management office), this reporting means a better enterprise view of resource usage, a cycle of improvement on project processes, the ability to intervene at the right time for struggling projects, and greater likelihood that the programme is held to the desired budget and scope parameters.
Effective reporting—the intel from the field that gets distilled into cogent parcels for the right internal audience—is the lifeblood of a PMO. While individual project managers can use project management tools to manage their teams and deliverables on the execution level, the PMO must be able to see all this activity at a level once removed and make sense of it in other terms. The PMO can be many wonderful things, but one thing it isn’t is a redundant project management organ that becomes embroiled in too much day-to-day execution.
Let’s take a project-driven organisation with employees across the globe and external projects ranging from short- to mid- to long-term. A PMO in this organisation needs a consolidated reporting tool that provides a “single version of the truth” and is not dependent on spreadsheets, check-in calls, and emails to perform programme-tracking functions. The organisation is counting on the PMO to provide a level of company-wide visibility that didn’t exist before. By this token, a PMO initiative may only be as good as the PMO tools behind it.
With centralised access to data, the company’s PMO can standardise reporting and processes organisation-wide—a central element of the successful PMO’s charter—and provide compelling and clear views of important performance metrics such as status, budget and resource demand. This company’s delivery management team will also be able to quickly scan individual projects and decide which ones are floundering and require intervention. Being alert to individual project problems with an eye to aggregate project performance—and tying it to strategic execution—is the PMO’s charge and, more and more, a necessity for project-driven companies with far-flung teams who have disparate project sizes and durations.
Board-level reporting becomes more effective, empowering leadership to select better projects and make accurate forecasts for the health of the company. A good PMO-tool should be able to provide multiple users the right level of granularity for the view they need; in the PMOs case, neatly bundling up important metrics on gross profits; project, resource and status; “demand vs. actual” reports, and resource utilisation views.
With properly centralised data, the PMO can meet its promise of value by delivering reports that help leadership align projects with company strategy, deliver projects in scope and on time, and convey the interdependencies that impact both the programme’s overall health and your company’s profitability.
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