Why Small Organizations
Nowadays, more and more small organizations are handling their business - the project way. They call their contract as "project." The person in charge is called "project manager." Each project is formed temporarily and tasked to deliver services/ products unique to each client. Meanwhile, project manager is responsible to deliver the project on time, on budget and within agreed scope.
Due to various reasons (e.g.: budget, competent personnel), full-fledged PMO is not affordable to small organizations. Without support of PMO, their projects (a.k.a. business contracts) are experiencing unnecessary pains. Often they are fire fighting in the projects, which is a form of wastage. Ultimately, reduce profitability. Thus, they need some form of PMO to ease their pain and increase bottom-line.
Without any form of PMO, small organizations are most likely to suffer in following areas:-
Irregardless movement of any staff, the projects have to be continued. Staff movements are common in any business. These staffs either transferred to another project or move on. That's perfectly okay when their projects are completed, which is not always the case. Even with handover and transition, the true knowledge and experience gained are reside in someone's head. What was briefed to the replacement is merely superficial, and impractical to have in-depth walk-through.
Typically everyone preferred his/ her unique ways of working without consider much on the bigger picture. Such diversities can refer to how the information is organized, stored, retrieved and archived. The files and emails are often stored in individual laptop without backup. In the event of staff movement, dumping all these (often unorganized) files and emails to the replacement is capable to accelerate one's aging process. When the hard drive is dead, all the invaluable information may be gone for good. Perhaps an expensive recovery service able to retrieve some of these files.
Sustainability of a small organization is critical for growth, which is built on top of consistency. Different results are heavily influenced by the way of working. Different project managers have different competencies and capabilities. Without any standard methodology, their working approaches are often drawn from their own exposure and education. It could be good or bad. These approaches are at two extreme ends - either street-smart or book-smart. The street-smart is to get the job done without worrying about getting things documented; the book-smart focuses on excessive documentations without getting job done.
Projects are business avenue instead of personal agenda. Personal attachment between project managers and their projects create bias. During project performance evaluation, project managers will find ways and means to make their projects looks good. The common strategy is to hide intangible elements, such as quality and risk. When projects need to be killed in hard time, respective project manager will try very hard to keep their projects alive. When the affected project managers lost the battle, they will develop negative sentimental towards the organization.
What're in Pseudo-PMO
- Develop a just-enough methodology, which link individual performance (KPI) to it. If anything goes wrong, correct the methodology first before fix the person. This methodology is to ensure continuity, uniformity, consistency and objectivity.
- Provide centralized depository (e.g.: cloud based) with regular backup activities. A schedule is defined on each laptop to have the files automatically synchronize with the depository. This is critical to have all information protected for the benefits of organization and projects.
- Create community of practice among project managers, where they can freely and openly share their experience with others. Let the street-smart and book-smart PM meets. Together, they create wonders out of conflicts.
Establishment of Pseudo-PMO
This PMO should developed and owned by the project managers in small organizations. They know the hiccups in projects best. Thus, the PMO they developed is going to solve their immediate and common pains, which is immediate ROI.
To accelerate their learning curve, external consultants or SMEs able to point them to correct direction without much wandering. This is worthwhile investment as your organization can elevate project managers' competency in more practical sense.
Critical Success Factor of this Establishment
- Top Management Support - specifically allocated time for PM to participate in PMO works
- Clearly Defined and Communicated Objectives of PMO
- Measure the Benefits of PMO
If you still skeptical on its practicality, asked yourselves:-
- Does your organization suffer above symptoms (or more)?
- Do your project managers whine on similar issues in different projects?
- Do you want to producing real result over fire fighting?
When your answers are Yes, Yes and Yes. Pseudo-PMO or real PMO is what you need.