Article #210 Is Your Project Management Office (PMO) Digitally-Ready for the Covid-19 Pandemic Era and Beyond?

Maybe one of the very few benefits of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it showed many businesses including those involved in delivering projects is that work from home and social distancing requirements can be accommodated and might have little impact on business. Actually, for some organizations, those requirements will be embraced and become part of the business as-usual operations when it comes to managing projects. Nevertheless, what was also clear to most of those organizations, that those who were behind in adopting digital transformation to their business has suffered the most when it came to ensuring their business continuity.

One of the fastest growing trends over the past five years across the globe in general and in the Gulf Corporate Council (GCC) countries in particular, is the setting of the Project Management Office (PMO) to enable public and private sector entities to support the implementation of their vision realization initiatives. A digitally enabled PMO is a PMO who have automated the execution of the different project management processes to enable stakeholders to have real-time access to all projects information anytime, anywhere using any device. The digitally enabled PMO provides stakeholders with the insight to make better and faster informed decisions.

Using Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, the Project Management Office (PMO) can automate the hundreds of processes needed to manage the delivery of the project life cycle stages. The details on how to achieve this was explained in an earlier article, “Article #228 How Can a Project Management Information System (PMIS) Helps PMOs to Jump Strat the Implementation of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Processes?”.

For example, the PMWeb stage gate module will be used to identify the different stages of the project life cycle and for which the PMO could have different life cycle stages depending on the project types managed by the PMO. For each stage, the list of deliverables that need to be completed for each stage will be listed. Each deliverable can be linked to the relevant project management process managed in PMWeb or the document that will be uploaded and stored in PMWeb document management repository.

For each project management process that will be automated using PMWeb, there should be an input form that could be one of the many ready to use PMWeb forms or custom-built forms using PMWeb visual form builder. Each form will have its own workflow to formalize and details the submit, review and approve tasks needed for each process and as outlined in the responsibility assignment matrix (RAM). In addition, the workflow will also include the approval authority levels that are usually associated with processes that have financial implications. Of course, each form in PMWeb allows attaching all supportive documents needed to have a complete review and approval of the process. Those documents will be usually uploaded and stored in PMWeb document management repository.

The PMWeb project center will provide each project stakeholder with the list of tasks assigned to him/her as per the initiated workflows. This will enable the stakeholder to review the process and take the necessary action so it can proceed to the stakeholder who is next on the workflow sequence. The project center screen will also include notifications or emails received from other project stakeholders seeking the advice or notifying stakeholders who are not part of the workflow process. Of course, there is also the option for receiving workflow notifications as well as other notifications via MS Outlook email.

This information captured in PMWeb database repository will also become the basis for creating the performance reports and dashboards needed by the stakeholders. Those reports and dashboards which will be accessed directly by the stakeholders, regardless where they are located, will provide real-time single version of the truth information on the current project, program or projects’ portfolio performance. Stakeholders can be even given the permission to drilldown to the data source for the reported information in case they need to verify or simply understand the data behind the reported information.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value in excess of US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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