This paper was submitted for publication October 14, 2011.
It is copyright to Dennis Bolles of DLB Associates, LLC ©2011
Published on this site June 2012.

Introduction | General Business Management versus Project Business Management 
Why is the PBMO a Competitive Weapon and What Are Its Benefits?
Three Very Commons Questions About a PBMO | Governance and Structure
The PBMO as an Enterprise Governance Approach | PART 2

Three Very Commons Questions About a PBMO

1.  What is a PBMO?

A PBMO is a centralized business function that provides project management business practices and process support services. This functional group is staffed with experts skilled in providing those support services, and:

  • Reports to an executive management level position independent of other functional groups.
  • Provides support directly to portfolio, program and project managers and their staff or provides the managers from within the PBMO staff.
  • Is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring the consistent application of a project business management methodology across the organization.
  • Integrates the application of portfolio, program and project management business practices with the operational business practices throughout the enterprise by coaching, mentoring and training.

2.  What factors affect the structuring of the PBMO and it's positioning in the organization?

Factors include the size of the organization, its type of business, number of physical business locations, number and complexity of projects, and functional positioning in the organization. These are all factors that affect how the PBMO is configured and the degree of political autonomy it has within the enterprise. Very few enterprises are organized and operated in the same fashion unless they have the same ownership.

Even then, the management styles of executives can affect how each individual organization is operated. There is no generally recognized standard model that is used to structure or position a PBPMO within in an organization. However, I believe the PBMO should be located it at the executive level of the enterprise and be operated as an independent functional organization.

3.  Why should a PBMO be created?

There are three primary objectives in implementing a PBMO that in and of themselves provide sufficient reasons for creating a PBMO:

  1. Institutionalization of Project Management principles and best practices enterprise-wide: The PBMO becomes the functional owner of project management development, implementation, monitoring, and continuous improvement of the policies, processes, and procedures across the organization.
  2. Provides a "global view" of the enterprise's initiatives and projects: A PBMO provides an environment where all projects and planned enterprise initiatives can easily be summarized and rolled up across the enterprise to provide a single global view. Having available to all management a global view of the status of planned initiatives and portfolios, programs, and projects in-progress is critical to the strategic planning process.
  3. Optimization of resources: Having a global view provides an in-depth familiarity with all projects is necessary before efficient enterprise-wide resource leveling and optimization can occur. A PBMO has this capability, because it is the focal point that gathers, analyzes, monitors, and reports the current status on all projects on a regular basis.

In addition to meeting these three objectives a PBMO can provide a multitude of benefits for the entire organization. Such benefits include:

  • Improved coordination of product or service deliveries across all product lines (time-to-market)
  • A systematic product development approach
  • A results focus (vs. task) organization
  • Reinforced continuous improvement through consistent repeatable processes
  • Facilitated proactive management
  • Improved communications throughout the organization
  • Risks clearly identified and minimizes or mitigated
  • Simplified resource planning across multiple projects
  • Managers enabled to anticipate problems rather than reacting to them
  • Enhanced "what-if" analysis and corrective action planning
  • Defined resource and timing requirements for strategic business plan initiatives
  • Improved business management skills throughout the organization

It can be difficult to quantify many of these benefits associated with the implementation of project management principles and processes, especially in the short term. Key performance indicator metrics can be developed to measure, track, and record improvements once the processes have been established, but initially it will be difficult to categorically predict the specific value or worth of improvements that will be gained by incorporating the PBMO structure into the organization.

Why is the PBMO a Competitive Weapon and What Are Its Benefits?  Why is the PBMO a Competitive Weapon and What Are Its Benefits?

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