‘What happens when you call up a project manager do you get straight through or do they adopt an avoidance strategy...’
A call from any member of the PMO should be a welcome event and not something to hide from or fear. Consider if there are certain individuals or teams or departments that are resistant to what the PMO is trying to achieve. Ask yourself why this is and plan a charm offensive to demonstrate that the PMO is their friend.
‘When was the last time that a project manager contacted your PMO asking for some form of help? ...’
If this has not happened in some time then perhaps your PMO is not as accessible and open as you may wish it to be? Run a survey or open session to gain some insight in to the reasons for non-contact with the PMO. It may link to the ‘what’ question above i.e. fear of the PMO, or it may be just a lack of awareness. Go out of your way to help key people, regardless of if it isn’t really in your PMO remit – by winning influential supporters the word will spread about the PMO being a ‘go to’ group.
‘Do people ask many times over where they should go for project information or project help...’
The PMO should be the automatic first call for anything project related when project managers or others need some guidance, make sure yours is easy to access and quick to respond.
Market what the PMO does, create a menu of service items that the PMO can deliver ‘off the shelf’ and advertise this tirelessly.
‘Do people ask why they should use the PMO and do they know what your PMO does...’
You should have marketed the value of your PMO throughout the organization and people should easily access a ‘service menu’ or what the PMO can do to help them. Success stories really help here with proven benefits of PMO involvement, invest your time in developing some and get people outside the PMO to write them or at least validate them.
And finally question number six – the ‘how’ – how can you improve the PMOs’ work and profile, its performance, its acceptance and its role in your company?
How can you do this? You need to think and plan and act.
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Peter Taylor's background is in project management across three major business areas over the last 26 years, MRP/ERP systems with various software houses and culminating in his current role with Infor, Business Intelligence (BI) with Cognos, and product lifecycle management (PLM) with Siemens. He has spent the last 7 years leading PMOs and developing project managers and is now focusing on project based services development with Infor.