I have heard mild protests from clients when I suggest setting up a project office. They seem to feel that I am suggesting having huge staff numbers adding to overheads and adding little to the business.
Far from the truth!
I have seen people in organisations who valiantly help in developing the overall project culture within the company without actually realising it. Some of the work done by these unsung heroes and heroines has been really useful:
- helping to develop an overall project management system – a house style, written for everyone in the organisation
- encouraging people to attend project training events (including senior managers) where new ways of working are explained
- securing funding for training
- advising individual project managers or teams how to start a project and walking them through the approach needed
- collating statistics, how many projects are current, how many are in danger of delivering late ot over-budget etc
- influencing others to adopt project management approaches
- advising how to compete forms e.g. risk logs, project initiation forms etc
I stress, the above have been seen by me when working directly with clients. This is not all one client and more to the point, the client has done this themselves.
It is some list AND it has all been done by one or two people who have their day jobs to perform as well. The key is that they are making a difference; a positive difference with very little management support. One person described what they are doing as pushing a really heavy stone up a really steep hill.
These people have made a HUGE difference to their organisations and should be complemented. They can help make a huge leap forward if they had senior management backing, a formal title – such as Project Office or Programme Office, a little money to support the drive for developing a strong project management culture. But, better than that some authority to push project (or programme) management within the organisation.
One final point; many organisations fail to have any real project governance (account abilities and responsibilities for decision-making at a strategic level or project level). Having a project office helps enormously however it will not replace a well developed governance process.
Good luck to you if you are one of those unsung heroes or heroines pushing project management. Keep up the really great work!