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If you have a Project Management Office (PMO) within your organisation then knowing it is performing effectively is key to the business growth. 
Do you have a clear view of what benefits the projects are delivering and they are going to be achieved? 
Are you sure all the resources are being utilised fully and to their best effect? 
Have you a clear understanding if the projects are under or over spending – good budget management? 
If the answer is ‘No’ or ‘I am not sure’ to the above questions then maybe it is the time that a health assessment is performed to see where changes can be made to give you the best possible performance from your PMO and the projects it manages. 
Why Should You Conduct a PMO Health Check 
The purpose of performing a PMO health check should be an inward-looking exercise to gain an independent assessment of how it is working in accordance with its objectives and how well it adheres to the defined delivery governance. 
As importantly the health check should identify how PMO is aligned with the corporate vision and strategy. If the projects and programmes being managed by the PMO are not aligned to the strategy then this should be a big warning flag. 
Who Should Conduct PMO Health Check? 
Through experience, the PMO health check is best to be completed by an independent assessor. This is because they are not part of your organisation and are free from any internal politics and can provide an unbiased and balanced perspective. They have no vested interest apart from ensuring they get the best outcome for you. 
It is recognised that any findings and recommendations from having an independent assessment are more likely to be accepted and acted upon by the Senior Management teams. A good assessor will use logical approach and will always take the organisation’s unique nature into account and its project management and delivery methodologies. 
When Should You Do Health Checks? 
Traditionally there tend to be two approaches to PMO health checks: – 
Reactive – When something goes wrong on a project or a programme and a review is performed to understand what went wrong and if it could have been prevented. Most organisations operate in this way! 
Proactive – Regular checks are performed, six monthly or annually, to ensure the PMO is operating as expected and make any necessary changes to ensure it is continually improving. 
Both have their place, depending on the size of the organisation and the type of projects that the PMO undertake. 
PMO Health Checks: What Are the Warning Signs? 
Governance Compliance 
Governance is about adopting an appropriate and consistent approach to project and programme delivery across an organisation. You need to be assured your organisational methodologies are adopted to embody best practice, improve effectiveness and streamline communication. 
If the projects and programmes are being delivered and controlled in different ways then this should be a sign to have a review. 
Lack of a Business Case 
Projects are initiated for many reasons but everyone should have a defined and agreed business case detailing the need or issue that needs to be addressed, benefits, deliverables and approximate costs. The benefits and costs should be extracted and tracked via the PMO as a minimum. If they are not then this is also a sign a review is needed. 
Readiness of information 
How quickly can the PMO provide you with real time information? If you make the request and it takes what you deem is too long to obtain or the information provided is a week or month out of date then you should question if they are in total control of the information. 
There are numerous tools on the market that can give you what you need at the touch of a button. Your organisation may use one but is it configured correctly for what you need? 
A lot of PMO’s are still run using numerous Excel spreadsheets which do have their place but are very manual and rely on a human input which has a risk of miskeying etc. 
Ineffective Stakeholder Management (Relationships) 
The relationships with the project sponsors need constant nurturing and a key function of the PMO. The health check will review sponsor commitment and their client satisfaction to determine if their communication is effective and giving them what they need. 
If they don’t feel that they understand where their projects are and what is expected of them this should another sign that it’s time fo a review. 
What else would be covered as part of the health check 
As well as the areas mentioned above the PMO health check will cover the following areas: – 
PMO structure and performance 
Management of risks, issues, dependencies and assumptions 
Planning and resourcing 
Progress tracking and reporting 
Budget management 
Quality management of PMO and project artefacts 
Project tracking tool assessment 
By taking a step back and looking inward at your PMO function organisations can not only avoid any potential issues sooner but can also confirm that the PMO is in control of all the key elements ensuring benefit realisation to aid growth. 
The whole review process which would include talking with the PMO and delivery staff, review of the areas listed above, documenting the findings and presenting back normally take between 2 to 3 weeks depending on organisation size. It could ensure your projects truly support the business vision. 
Contact Green Giant Consulting today on 0844 259 6210 or visit www.greengiantconsulting.co.uk to book your free initial 2 hour PMO consultation to help you determine if the review is right for your organisation. 
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