The Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) approach is attracting attention as a key to boosting project performance. The Project Management Institute reported that organizations with an EPMO aligned to strategy have 38 percent more projects that meet their goals. They also have 33 percent fewer projects that fail.
In most organizations, Project Management Offices (PMOs) are tasked with doing things right. An EMPO makes sure everyone is doing the right things.
An EPMO is a more strategic PMO. Misalignment between project goals and business strategy is a misinvestment that often results in project failures. Discover how this approach can boost your organization’s project success rates.
The traditional PMO
The traditional PMO supports project managers to make sure projects are on time and within budget. However, the traditional PMO is not designed to align their projects with company-wide objectives. Once again, they know how to do things right, but they’re not making decisions about what the organization is doing.
Traditional PMOs solve program and project-level issues. Their focus is operational or tactical, not strategic. They’re not in the “what” business because PMOs don’t work closely with the executive team. This ambiguous direction of the PMO can hinder project performance, raising costs and under-utilizing resources.
How the EPMO improves on traditional PMOs
An EPMO operates at a different level than traditional PMOs, reporting to a member of the executive team, often the COO or CIO. The EPMO is a business function that works to ensure that project, program, and portfolio activities benefit the business and further the goals set by the executive team.
Their job is to align all project, program, and portfolio activities with the company’s near and long-term strategic objectives. EPMOs are still concerned not only with doing things right but also doing the right things.
The EPMO’s domain is company-wide, which gives it more capabilities. The EPMO has visibility over multi-project organizational initiatives as well as individual programs and projects throughout the organization. It can test the benefits of significant initiatives. It can rank projects across the organization, forecast and manage demand, and perform strategic resource planning.
The EPMO should drive continuous improvement and increase agility, responding to initiatives and changed conditions, and championing transformation.
No longer only for large enterprises
The EPMO approach is not just for large enterprises. The defining aspects of EPMO are its strategic focus and its direct connection to the executive team. Any company contemplating changes in strategy or planning impactful projects will benefit.
In a large organization with existing PMOs, the EPMO does not replace but complements traditional PMOs at the project, program, or department level. Other PMOs in different business units and different geographical locations report to it — such as an IT PMO, an engineering PMO, a marketing PMO, or an HR PMO. The EPMO coordinates among them and supports cross-functional initiatives.
A company using agile methods can adopt the EPMO approach. Though agile teams are self-organizing and self-managing, and their project success criteria are nontraditional, agile teams can use an EPMO that facilitates communication and the flow of useful information between the projects and the ET.
Strategic EPMOs ensure projects align with the company’s near and long-term strategic objectives, which is valuable to all sizes of businesses.