Category Archives: PMO

How the Project Management Office Can Drive Business Growth with Excellence in Customer Service

PMOProject Managers today don’t just manage projects; they are a key contributor in managing the business. So, is there a way the Project Management Office can gain the business competitive positioning and better business results? I say yes. We can do this through delivering excellence in customer service.

Aristotle said it best when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle ~384-322 BCE.  To create a culture of service excellence, the PMO must first define for itself what excellence in customer service is. Involve the members of the Project Management Office in this activity (after all, we know from our experience managing projects that stakeholder involvement facilitates buy-in). Ask each member to provide their best customer service experience. From the cumulative experiences, collaboratively define what service excellence is for your team in your business. This definition should become the mission statement of the PMO.

Next, have the Project Management Office members recommend the values they will guide themselves by to obtain service excellence. Below are a few general principles to build on. I agree that many may seem obvious or cliché, but you will find that they work:

  • Be available
  • Treat your customer the way you would like to be treated
  • Provide a personal and individual level of attention to each client
  • Be an expert in your role, discipline or practice
  • Be empowered to make decisions
  • Ask, listen and learn
  • Analyze risk to identify potential problems and implement corrective and preventive measures
  • Communicate early and often
  • Request feedback and use it to evolve service excellence
  • Be humble, honest, frank and prepared

Once the Project Management Office defines and outlines values, PMO management should create a formal documented Customer Service policy and roll it out to the team. The upkeep of the Customer Service policy should be considered an iterative process; the needs of the customer and feedback from stakeholders are regularly analyzed and constant improvements are made to the program.

Review the policy with the PM team regularly, especially when there are any updates, or new hires added to the team. Perform team building exercises in support of the program, and share lessons learned at regular team meetings to foster continued support of the program. We want to ensure everyone adopts this behavior. After all, service excellence must become the new norm.

Great service can be used as an effective acquisition strategy, as well as a retention strategy for happy customers. Roll out a Customer Service Excellence program in your Project Management Office and you will find that the customer service approach will lead to growth and profitability.

Are you interested in learning how effective project management strategies can help your business excel? Email us at


By Erin Marandola, Business Analyst, PMP

Are You Ready for a Project Management Office? Part 2 – Players and Pitfalls

By Nancy Mather, Director of Professional Services Operations, PMP

This is the second part of a series. Catch up with part 1 here.

Once you’ve made the decision you’re ready for a Project Management Office (PMO), it’s time to think about who you need for players. If you’re on the fence about a hire due to uncertainty of sustained business needs to support the hire, or due to the fact that you have found someone that might not have the exact experience you are looking for but you believe is the kind of person you want on your team, consider a contract position instead of a permanent hire. More than half of all PMO’s use contracts resources to manage projects.

Consider the reporting structure and if the PMO will manage the project managers. It’s important to try and keep PMO resources unified within the group. That doesn’t mean that there can’t still be a dotted line reporting structure to groups outside; however, try to keep the PMO together.  The team will gain great value from the consistency that comes from being part of a PMO. In addition, it will make it easier to keep processes and best practices consistent. Project Management team meetings can be a great forum for the team to share lessons learned.

Be on the lookout for functions that might take Project Managers away from their primary focus of project management. Project Managers are known to be detail-oriented and organized by nature. This can at times make them a catch all in the company for a variety of responsibilities, some of which might not need to belong with them. This could include things like:  resource scheduling, contract creation, negotiation, or other general administrative tasks.

Over the years, we have gone through my renditions of what functions our PMs hold.  Some functions we’ve moved to centralize, and others we have decentralized. Centralizing helped us increase efficiency in areas around contract writing and resource scheduling, and it decreased efficiency when it came to centralized billing. The key is to be open to change and recognize that there is not a one size fits all answer.

If project managing is not the primary role of the person that’s deemed the project manager, you could be setting yourself up to fail. We often see examples of IT professionals that wear a project management hat as needed in their organization. While some can do this effectively, others can get more hands on than needed and take on more of the leg work than needed. Just because someone is good in one role, it doesn’t mean they will automatically be a good project manager.

Executive buy-in is also a must. Without executive level support of the PMO, your PMO could be doomed to fail by not being valued or being dismissed as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. There must be executive buy-in that believes in the fundamental value of a PMO. In order for this to happen, the PMO must be aligned with the organization’s strategy. If the PMO doesn’t understand the company’s key drivers, it won’t contribute to the value.

Continual improvement is also key.  While a PMO should use best practices for consistency, it’s important to make sure that these practices are continually being looked at for refinement and continuous improvement. The PMO must be agile in the event that the needs of the business change.

By considering these things up front, it will help ensure that you are on the right path to successfully establishing a PMO. As always, our Project Management team is available to offer you professional advice any time!