Top 3 Signs Your Utility PMO is a Good Fit

In the utility industry, project management office (PMO) is quickly gaining popularity and for good reason. Most businesses have some type of PMO capability in place to support their portfolio and program-level initiatives, whether that’s by serving as a task manager or providing governance at a program level. In both cases, the role is considered a stepping stone between having no formal process for project management and having a fully functional PMO.

But what kind of project managers does your business need when you establish a PMO? What are the signs that your utility’s PMO is set up for success?

For a PMO to be successful and provide value to your business, three components: project managers, support, and governance need to work well together. But before we cover the signs of a good utility PMO, let’s talk about what a PMO does.

The Roles of a PMO

A PMO will help utilities to determine exactly what data requirements must be met and in what form, how it should be gathered, and which tools are most appropriate for the task, regardless of vendor. There’s no better time to get started with any data-intensive infrastructure than right now.

As utilities continue to experience rapid change, a PMO can provide the direction needed to pivot strategically from one project to another to execute the most impactful capital projects successfully, remain competitive, and deliver reliable and economical services to customers.

PMOs can streamline projects by focusing on and collaborating across the business’s unique people, processes, and technologies. They have the time and ability to facilitate clear communication and quick processing of information so your company can focus on growth, rather than all the mundane management tasks.

Successful project planning requires a holistic strategy that can be difficult to achieve if information is siloed within individual business units. However, an effective PMO can put in place measures to facilitate bringing all of the pieces together on a large scale, including managing the additional budget and scheduling complexities that come with integrated projects.

How to Know if Your PMO Is a Good Fit

1. Your project manager

When you implement a PMO, it’s important to determine which project managers will best serve your needs. You should have someone who is focused on creating and executing clear project plans. Good PMs understand that every detail matters and they’re not afraid of getting involved with the nitty-gritty of a project, down to the smallest tasks. They manage expectations and stay engaged throughout a project’s life cycle.

Great project managers make it a point to understand and follow the processes already at work within your business. This way, they can seamlessly integrate with project teams and stakeholders throughout the life cycle of a project.

In addition, a good PM realizes that different technical roles require specific data knowledge or processing expertise to be as successful as possible, so they’re always focused on delivering the best results for those involved.

2. Support

The best support comes from a team that has worked alongside your business’s stakeholders, understands its needs and requirements, and can collaborate with you to achieve the best results.

Communication and efficiency are key when considering support. Your company should be able to get in touch with the right person quickly, and that person should understand your processes and deliver accurate information without hesitation.

Project managers not only need to know how to gather information from the right teams but also to communicate it back promptly so project leaders can make the best decisions possible.

3. Governance

A healthy PMO is supported by well-defined governance guidelines that put clear standards in place for decision-making, process execution, and project selection. PMOs of this caliber typically employ people who are not only experienced in the field but also understand your industry inside and out. This means they can help set up processes for optimal efficiency (i.e., creating standard workflows), while also providing valuable insight into how projects should be managed given your unique company needs and processes.

A PMO that listens to stakeholder needs and requirements, understands the overall business goals, and can provide executive-level support ensures that your projects are on track.

Final Thoughts

The best way to determine if a PMO is right for you is to think about what problems they solve for your company.  If you find yourself constantly bogged down in logistical minutiae, it might be time for an operational overhaul. If the role of your PMO is to help create and execute clear project plans, communicate with stakeholders efficiently, and support projects throughout their life cycles, then chances are they’re providing great value to your business.