6 Success Criteria for the PMO – Interview


+++ Interview on the Success Factors for Setting Up a PMO  +++

By Tina Ciotola                                                                                                                       Read article in German

6 Success Criteria for the PMO, Interview Dinkel

Thomas Dinkel,
PMO Manager

Together with his PMO team Thomas Dinkel successfully introduced an integrated enterprise-wide project management solution at a large Swiss company.

His goal: more efficient and reliable planning, monitoring, and implementation. This goal applies to both the rapidly growing project portfolio and resource management.

We asked him about his 6 success criteria for the PMO but also about the challenges.


What was the task at hand, and how did you approach it?

The task at hand was to professionalize the projects and the portfolio and resource management. Our approach? Step by step – obtaining the basic data first and building on that.

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It is vital to proceed one step at a time. Do not make the mistake of spending years designing a big solution. Otherwise, the change will be too extreme. Besides, it is important to celebrate successes in between. The staff have to feel that things progress and improve.

What was your greatest challenge?

I believe everyone who has experienced a PMO setup knows: The road to an established PMO is rocky. Not all are happy that the PMO is watching over the projects.

Getting the people on board, carrying them through, winning them over, and getting them to appreciate the causes for your decisions is a constant task. Therefore, it is one of the most important success criteria.

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The PMO is under constant watch and has to take the flak once in a while. The best approach is to remain constant and tenacious. And the PMO needs backing from management. This is the only way it can become an accepted organizational unit.

The PMO needs backing from management to be accepted as an organizational unit.

Your greatest achievement?

We have achieved that everything goes together: the project management method and the training resources, such as e-learning programs, booklets, and means of communication. Not to mention tools and processes, which are fully established by now. Together, they form a consistent image. That we can be proud of.

Your biggest mistake?

Underestimating the complexity. The individual subareas are still relatively easy to manage. You can manage a project, manage resources, manage a portfolio. But once you want to bring it all together, automate and present it on a dashboard, you have a lot of systems, data and interfaces. These need to be reconciled.

And the complexity increases exponentially with each area you tie in. Today, I would make a more realistic estimate of the implementation time for the various measures. I would allocate more time.

Today, I would make a more realistic estimate. I would allocate more time for the implementation of the various measures.

You might also like our Article about Successful PMO Setup – Read now!

Your most important lesson learned?

Of course, the PMO is a service provider first and foremost. It should involve all parties concerned in the project. Yet, sometimes it has to make a decision and follow it through. Achieving the right balance is challenging but important.

Do you want to plan your PMO Setup? Use our Checklist outlining 10 Vital Success Factors!

This makes collaboration much less rocky. Plus, you will be accepted much faster. In the end, a PMO will be successful if employees turn to it with the most diverse concerns. This shows they know their concerns will be resolved in a satisfactory way.

What are the most important criteria when establishing a PMO?

Thomas Dinkel’s 6 Success Criteria for the PMO

1. It is a rocky road to a PMO that is both successful and accepted. But you need to persevere in spite of all obstacles. Do not give up. Try to consistently achieve small successes.

2. Involve people. It is of importance to coordinate with each other and engage people in the process. This helps to overcome reservations and provides an opportunity to convince people of the changes.

3. The PMO has to see itself as a service provider in the company. Quit seeing yourselves as a regulatory committee deciding over people’s heads. Instead, it is all about providing top customer service to project managers as well as management.

4. Generating a visible additional value for all is central for PMO acceptance. This is basically about showing that the PMO lightens people’s workloads and contributes to an increase in efficiency.

5. You should keep “the big picture” in mind. It is not enough to concentrate on the right tool. You also need the right processes, the appropriate method, and a clear idea of the overall system. Otherwise, you run the risk of misdirecting your efforts.

6. The PMO is everything at once: mediator and “wailing wall” but also an important interface between all parties concerned – and people value that. This also means: Sometimes you have to do things that are not part of the classical responsibilities of a PMO.

What are your experiences, and do you have any suggestions or questions regarding the PMO? We look forward to receiving your comments in the comment area below.

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