Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) operates as a centralized and coordinated management center for all projects, defining standards and rules only in the project management process, with the aim of increasing efficiency between projects.
EPMOs do not always focus solely on standards and rules, and can be part of strategic project management by facilitating or owning a portfolio management process. In this capacity, they monitor active projects and portfolios and report to top management to facilitate strategic decision-making.
Most EPMOs have well-defined standards and rules because they are relatively easy to implement, but in the absence of strong enforcement, these are only on paper. The real challenge is to execute:
1. Dynamic resource management
With increased competition and busy deadlines, it has become the norm for employees to work on multiple projects and perform multiple tasks at the same time. For many EPMOs, the biggest challenge is dynamic or real-time resource management. In terms of division of labor in resource management, the PMOs participate in the macro level, while project managers join the micro-level. The most serious resource management issues for PMO managers and project managers include:
- Lack of skills management and capacity planning
- Resource plans can’t keep up with changes
- Inability to effectively manage dynamic resource conflicts
- During execution, external resources cannot be used when internal resources are insufficient
Resource management is important for projects, especially human resource management. Without it, projects are just fantasy. Even though the PMOs do not necessarily directly manage project resources, they must provide project managers with the backbone of resource management, such as talent pools with skills information, resource capacity planning, and emergency external resource utilization mechanisms. Otherwise, project managers who aim to manage a single project well may not be able to offer a good solution to the problem of project resource management. Many people overlook the following point--single-project resource management becomes multi-project resource management in a resource-sharing environment, so it is a mistake to leave all ostensibly single-project management issues to the project manager. To make matters worse, many project managers do not understand that the problem has become a multi-project management problem, and accept tasks that they are not suitable for, resulting in the project being negatively affected or even failing.
Using PMO, the PMOs can provide project managers with a talent pool, resource skills and capacity planning, emergency external resource utilization mechanism, etc.; project managers can effectively manage their resources and ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget. PMO helps project managers to identify skills and capacity gaps and handle resource conflicts. It also helps them track internal and external changes and impacts in real time, and enables them to update resource plans in the first place.
2. Strategic project alignment
EPMO acts as a centralized organizational-level entity dedicated to planning new projects with a larger organizational strategy. It participates in executive-level planning meetings and overall strategic planning meetings to better understand how individual projects meet the needs of the organization and establish a unified corporate vision. Project managers and senior leaders must recognize the value of full EPMO integration, view entities as having executive-level access, and better align project management strategies with overall goals. But due to the complexity of strategic objectives and the distorted nature of projects, it is not enough for EPMO managers and project managers to work together to establish an ongoing dialogue to maintain consistency during implementation. Many projects are not in line with the strategy but these cannot be found until their completion. Even if the EPMO manager reports which projects are not conducive to achieving business strategic goals of the organization, it is too late.
PMO provides strategic planning and execution management functions. From the strategy map of PMO, you can see the implementation of each strategy and its related projects in real time. PMO’s Strategy Map displays real-time updates on strategic KPI completion and associated project milestones, deliverables, expenditures and revenue, enabling PMO managers and project managers to see at a glance the causal relationship between projects and strategic KPIs. They can see that when a project milestone is completed, it positively impacts strategic KPIs.
The most important thing that can be done to improve the alignment of strategic projects is to bring transparency to where there was no transparency before.