Qualified PMO: administrative support or decisive game changer?

More than 50%[1] of all projects today fail or fall short of customer expectations despite the use of a classic Project Management Office (PMO). This applies equally to classic and agile projects. This fact has motivated us at zeb to further elaborate existing approaches to PMO work and to share the experience gained from using our qualified PMO (qPMO).

The use of qPMO[2] promises measurable savings potential of 18% to 22% in project work – consisting of a combination of administrative, quantitative and qualitative work packages (see Figure 1).

Our framework for a qualified PMO

The combination of administrative and quantitative tasks is what we refer to as a classic PMO. However, it neglects essential qualitative aspects, which leads to considerable weaknesses. The qPMO we use specifically addresses these by elevating the PMO from the project administrator role to the assistant coach role, thus giving appropriate weight to qualitative tasks. As assistant coach, the qPMO actively supports the (sub-) project management and drives the project content forward.

The above-mentioned savings potential of 18 to 22% can only be achieved by adding the qualitative tasks of Implementation Management, Risk and Issue Management, Quality Management and Integration Management to the classic PMO:

  • Implementation Management controls and drives progress towards the project results. This is mainly achieved by identifying (changed) requirements and measures, monitoring the implementation of all deliverables and controlling and tracking project results.
  • Risk and Issue Management has the overall goal of reducing project risks. To this end, an established three-stage process is applied: firstly, identify issues, secondly, analyze the resulting risks, and thirdly, derive appropriate mitigating measures.
  • Quality Management in the qPMO pursues a top-down quality approach. Based on agreed deliverables, quality gates are defined in which the individual requirements for each deliverable and their documentation are checked in detail.
  • Integration Management consolidates all project results and supports their integration into the daily work of all divisions. Involving all relevant stakeholders at an early stage is the key success factor, as this is the only way to identify and resolve potential conflicts early on and to ensure that responsibilities and resources are always coordinated, even beyond project organization.

It should be noted that each project requires individual combinations and intensities, especially in the qualitative modules. Adding qualitative components is what makes the qPMO a value-adding partner of the (sub-) project management.

qPMO framework used in zeb projectsFigure 1: qPMO framework used in zeb projects

The four essential benefits of the qPMO

Integrating the qPMO expertise in the project work enables previously unrealized, but extremely effective benefits. The qPMO used by zeb has proven itself over many years in a wide range of projects and is characterized above all by the realization of the following four added values:

Central and comprehensive reporting

The qPMO acts as single point of truth. When actively integrated into project work, it bundles all information in the overall project and makes it available to the project members in a way that is consistent as well as tailored to their needs. Consequently, the qPMO, as the central authority of the project, is able to report at any time on the schedule, budget utilization, and qualitative status of the project.

Assuring quality

Thanks to its continuous involvement, the qPMO acts as the guardian of quality, i.e. it ensures quality by critically examining the work packages and result types along qualitative criteria. This is particularly crucial when working with several sub-projects. In this case, a central control authority ensures a uniform and consistently high level of quality.

Enhancing efficiency

As the driver of progress, the qPMO coordinates the individual project activities by providing a comprehensive and consistent timing. This way, the qPMO ensures targeted progress in line with the overall project’s schedule and avoids efficiency losses due to possible bottlenecks caused by uncoordinated activities.

Avoiding friction losses

One of the main aims of the qPMO is to stay on top and think ahead as an interdisciplinary orchestrator. Keeping in mind and controlling dependencies between project activities and sub-projects is of particular relevance to this. By adequately dovetailing the project interfaces, friction losses can be avoided and efficiency increased.

The qPMO as a versatile game changer

Thanks to the paradigm shift from the classic PMO to a qualified PMO as a value-adding partner that brings the abovementioned benefits to project management, zeb has been able to reduce costs (budget) in numerous projects while at the same time improving quality and meeting set deadlines (time). The qPMO we use is a game changer for our clients in terms of lasting project success and can be used in classic and agile projects as well as program management.

Evaluation of the qPMO framework used by zebFigure 2: Evaluation of the qPMO framework used by zeb

[1] zeb.business school.

[2] zeb has continuously refined the presented qPMO based on practical experience to help projects generate measurable savings potential and at the same time decisively improve the quality of project results, ultimately ensuring the projects’ success. According to our experience, savings can be realized in project planning and quality management (5–7%), cost and resource management (6–8%), dependency and risk management (10–12%) and provider management (3–5%), among others.

How can you reap the benefits of the qPMO in your next project? Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more about the qPMO. We are available for further talks and discussions.

Feel free to contact us!

Malte Ritzenhoff / author BankingHub

Malte Ritzenhoff

Manager Office Hamburg
Tobias Endres / author BankingHub

Tobias Endres

Senior Consultant Office Munich
Lukas Genßler / author BankingHub

Lukas Genßler

Senior Consultant Office Vienna

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