La plupart des projets informatiques ne remplissent pas leurs objectifs. Que ce soit en terme de coûts, de qualité, ou de délais, nombreuses sont les non conformités par rapport à ce qui était fixé au lancement d’un projet. Une des solutions adoptées par les DSI ces dernières années consiste à mettre en place une cellule de PMO (Project Management Office) pour standardiser et mettre sous contrôle les processus de gestion de projet.

Gantthead consacre cette semaine un article à 5 facteurs clés de succès de l’efficacité d’un programme de PMO.

Morceaux choisis de cet article, en anglais :

What does your PMO need to do to ensure that it is serving your organization? What makes a PMO effective? Well, there’s certainly no magic formula for the project management office to be successful. There are so many project factors and leadership factors that either contribute to success or get in the way of success, and every organization is different. However, in my professional experience, observations and discussions, I’ve learned that there are five primary factors that help to greatly influence the ultimate success of the project management office. If these are present or practiced, then the likelihood that your PMO will be successful and effectively serving your organization as a whole will be much higher. And, in turn, the rate that you realize project successes will increase as well.

These five key factors are:

1. Company executive leadership must buy-in to the PMO.

I start off with this one because I think it is the most critical. One could argue and make a good case for some of the others as No. 1, but without executive buy-in, the argument is moot. As we all know, our leadership makes the decisions on budgets, projects, who stays and who goes, etc. If these same individuals do not see the value in the project management office, then it will not survive. Major projects may get assigned to other departments, funding for the PMO will be limited or non-existent and the ability to staff with good PMOs and structure it with good processes will be severely limited. Executive leadership must be on board–otherwise, there’s no need to proceed.

2. The PMO must be staffed with experienced PMs and leaders.

Just staffing a PMO with a group of like-minded PMPs won’t get the job done. It’s great to a have a mix of junior- and senior-level project managers allowing the more senior PMs to hopefully mentor the junior staff. But relying on the PMP designation to do the work for you is a critical mistake. The PMO must contain several project managers with experience in leadership roles and many successful projects under their belt. That is far more important than ensuring everyone has the same “language” going (as may be the case with a PMO full of PMPs). PMP designation is great, but it is not a means to an end.

3. A methodology with good repeatable processes must be in place.

Your well-stocked PMO full of experienced and eager-to-learn PMs needs templates, processes and policies to follow. In short, they need a good project management methodology to lead the way. Time–and money–must be allocated to put this in place before the PMO can successfully take off. Otherwise, your project successes may just be luck (and rare). Just as you must allocate enough time and money up front in a project to plan, you must also do that with the PMO. A consistent process with reusable templates for project plans and documents will give your project managers the tools they need to run successful projects that will allow you to see that success repeated in the future.

4. The PMO director must lead the PMO, not projects.

Too many times, director ends up being a project manager who just happens to be leading the PMO. Unless your organization and PMO is very small, that’s a bad call. The director needs to be a well-connected leader in the organization, one who can knock down obstacles for the project managers on their projects. But that person needs to not be overloaded with five of their own projects. It’s understandable that a leader like this may be in high demand for a very visible project or to assist a PM on a troubled project with a high-profile client–but that needs to be the exception, not the rule.

5. The PMO must be the focal point for all projects.

As I mentioned in the first key factor above, without executive leadership buy-in to the PMO, some critical projects may get assigned to business units outside of the PMO. That’s a mistake. To allow for common and consistent delivery to your customers–hopefully resulting in high customer satisfaction–all projects should run through the same organization. I’ve been in companies (some very large) where this wasn’t the case; in every instance, that PMO ended up being dismantled and reconfigured. The result was that the PMO was never really successful and excessive dollars were spent in vain trying to get it there.

To give your customers–both internal and external–a consistent feel on project delivery, run the projects through one central PMO with good processes and personnel in place, with the backing of your executive leadership and under the direction of a well-respected director. When you ensure that all of this is in place, then your chances for ongoing project successes that meet the end goals of your customer will be much higher.

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