Best Practices of an Effective Project Management Office

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In order to establish the importance PMOs are given within the enterprise, most best-practice organizations have either a formal or informal business case to establish prominence. In addition, a key enabler to a PMO’s contributions to strategy creation is executive support; most best-practice PMOs in the report were established by and report to either C-level management or just one level below. For example, senior leadership at DTE Energy chartered its PMO, called major enterprise projects, as part of an effort to transform itself into one of the best-operated energy companies in the U.S.

APQC, a leading proponent of knowledge management, benchmarking, and best practices business research, recently released the results of a new study — Effective Project Management Offices — which uncovers trends among a select group of best-practice project management offices (PMO). The best-practice organizations highlighted in the study provide structure, guidance, and oversight to achieve the maximum value from diverse portfolios of projects. They balance strategic needs, aligning development and improvement activities to the business goals and objectives of their organizations, with an emphasis on providing the hands-on skills, tools, and assistance which empower those leading individual projects.

The best-practice organizations examined in detail in the study include: Dell Services, DTE Energy Co., IBM, United Illuminating Company, and a multi-billion-dollar beverage manufacturer.

Effective Project Management Offices details 14 best practices demonstrated by the study participants, but four in particular stood out.


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