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11 Strategic PMO processes a company should be using

Updated: Mar 17

By: Priyanka Nagpal | Nov 17, 2022 | PMO & Project Management | PMO tools & processes

11 Strategic PMO processes a company should be using

Whether it is an e-commerce business, social enterprise, service provider, small business, or large corporate - mostly likely it will be running multiple projects like launching a website, running a marketing campaign, opening a new branch, and more. Regardless of the industry a company operates in or the business outcome it wants to achieve, the company will be running projects of varying scope and scale, critical to achieving business success.

Utilizing PMO best practices and strategic processes is a differentiator in achieving business success.

We recommend the following eleven strategic processes for a well-run PMO:

  1. New Project Intake Process

  2. Prioritization Process

  3. Project Approval and Kick-off Process

  4. Resource Allocation Process

  5. Portfolio Health Monitoring Process

  6. Project Health Monitoring Process

  7. Risk Management Process

  8. Project Escalation Process

  9. Project Change Request Process

  10. Project Reporting Process

  11. Project Completion Proces

Why a new project intake process is crucial for portfolio optimization?

The project intake process is key to ensuring all projects in a company's portfolio are vetted against optimized parameters to ensure the business success of the portfolio as a whole. Regardless of when a project is proposed, a new project intake process must be followed to have the ability to compare projects in a portfolio mix. A new project intake process considers factors like those stated below and often includes submitting a business case and project proposal documents to link with the funding and project approval process.

Factors considered in a new project intake process

  1. Project objective(s)

  2. Associated portfolio objective

  3. Duration

  4. Cost

  5. Scope

  6. Key results

  7. Priority

Companies often plan their portfolio at fixed intervals. The intervals may vary, ranging from a 5 or 3-year plan to a yearly, bi-yearly, quarterly, or some other cadence.

However, a new project idea doesn't always come in a fixed cadence. Often new project initiatives are proposed and approved outside of the portfolio planning cycle.
The risk with not following a project intake process is that projects are not weighed against the other projects in the portfolio for attractiveness, cost of implementation, and RoI.

This can lead to unclear priorities, portfolio conflicts, a false start when a more suited idea replaces the proposed project, and a waste of resources when companies get stuck in a loop of scratching and initiating projects without a clear framework. In most cases, the new project idea is approved purely based on the lucrativeness of the idea and perceived urgency then. The resources are allocated to the project and it is kicked off without following a new project intake process. Successful businesses have clear frameworks and established project intake processes that help them make sound business decisions at all times, especially during the busy execution time of the year when most of the planning has been completed, and a lucrative project idea is proposed.

Using PMO process tools and frameworks can help companies embed these processes and best practices in their PMO function.

Laminar's in-built project initiation process makes managing the intake of new work hassle-free and the in-built Business Value Result (BVR) ensures all project initiatives are ranked before finding approval and kick-off.

How does project prioritization drive business efficiency and productivity?

The project prioritization process enables companies to maximize the potential value of their portfolio, by comparing the attractiveness of all projects with a set of parameters strategically chosen to maximize the portfolio's total value. The prioritization process helps bring clarity and focus on stakeholder vision and goals, which helps drive organizational efficiency and productivity. The portfolio value may be formed of quantitative and qualitative factors such as profit, reputation, risk, innovation factor, timing, etc.

Do you use business cases to link funding and project prioritization?
Have you missed business opportunities in the past?
Are you struggling with organizational efficiency and alignment of work with strategic goals?

A clear framework, comparison model, and prioritization process for measuring the priority of a project is key to ensuring the right projects get executed at the right time, to maximize business results. The project prioritization process across the entire portfolio helps in streamlining resource allocation and gives the team a shared set of goals to work against.

Laminar dashboards give you a 10,000 feet view of initiatives across the enterprise to drive collaboration and monitor enterprise strategy progress. In our client's own words

“Most importantly, we can cancel projects that are not a priority for the organization. Redirect resources onto the projects that are important and only fund the projects moving forward that are important to the executive leadership.” - CIO Toy manufacturer

Laminar's clients can manage execution and delivery across multiple projects - ensuring that the right projects get done at the right pace, which otherwise may miss the leadership radar, be delayed, or not be re-surfaced at the right time.

We recommend you establish clear investment objectives and prioritization criteria to act as the guiding beacon in selecting an optimal portfolio that prioritizes high return on investment initiatives.

Focusing on outcomes increases the team's chances of achieving business results. Engraining the team goals/objectives in everyday work boosts team resilience and the ability to respond to change at speed by equipping the team with timely information.

Unclear priorities can cause project teams to have false starts and are among the top 3 reasons why projects fail.

When the prioritization process is followed and recorded, the approval process is data-driven and past decisions are easily traceable to the strategic goals.

If you are looking to increase efficiency in your organization and want to maximize the value of your portfolio, prioritizing your projects is a must.

The pitfalls of skipping the approval process: Why prioritization and business cases matter?

The prioritization process
The prioritization process
Have you had false starts?
Have you missed business opportunities in the past?
Are projects approved in a black box?

Have you had false starts? Was a project kicked off without an approval process? Were resources prioritized towards a new shiny attractive project only for the project to be canned in the future for various reasons like change in management, the project conflicting with another project in the portfolio, the actual priority being much lower than the perceived priority, etc.?

Teams must have an opportunity and platform to innovate. Often, a project is approved as urgent under the garb of innovation without a clear evaluation of the attractiveness and following the prioritization process.

Pause and think, if a project is truly promising for the business, should a business case and following the prioritization process not be easier? Following the approval process can help clarify and focus on any grey areas that may have been overlooked if the project is approved in a rush without a process.

Why skip a process that is beneficial both for the overall portfolio and the individual project? Is it because it's called a "process"?

Laminar PMO Dashboards
Laminar PMO Dashboards