Most of us have experienced a project that hasn’t gone quite as planned. Information wasn’t received at the right time, different teams had completely different interpretations of the requirements, or somebody didn’t realize they were responsible for a task. Little things can turn into big things quickly, and suddenly a project is delayed, budgets are blown, and customers are unhappy.
With so many details for even the smallest project, the best way to keep things on track and have a successful outcome is to have a Project Manager (PM) overseeing the work. A Project Manager is a professional whose primary role is to organize the details of the project. They assign tasks, monitor deadlines, communicate with all the project team members, and flag issues early before they become major problems.
Because the role of the Project Manager is so crucial in having a successful outcome, it is always a good idea to know if the service provider your agency chooses for any contract work has a Project Management Office (PMO) with certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs). There are several key benefits that agencies can expect when choosing a service provider with a dedicated PMO.
Consistent Quality of Work
Federal agencies should expect consistent quality of work each time a solution is delivered. A PMO standardizes processes and procedures across all types projects, which translates to agencies having a consistent experience for every project. With a PMO, there is a dedicated resource that is solely focused on the process – someone who is there from the beginning to make sure all of the required tasks are documented and achieved. This resource also offers the client full transparency on how the work is done, what the deadlines are (and why they may need to be adjusted), and how the work is mapping to the budget. This consistency builds trust over time, and removes the inefficiencies of building a new process for each project, which could ultimately lead to inconsistent levels of success.
For every project – regardless of size – it’s vital that all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities from the very beginning. The Project Manager’s job is to ensure the team members know each other, understand the goals of the project, and understand their required tasks and deadlines. The project plan created by the PM serves as a roadmap for the project, and includes regular check-in meetings and status reports. Every member of the project team will see the progress, understand the part they play, and be kept up-to-date on all tasks – even the ones they are not directly involved with.
This type of transparent communication provides more than just peace of mind. It enables a feedback mechanism between the planning and execution of any given requirement. It also helps the team uncover issues and make adjustments quickly, as opposed to uncovering problems when it may be too late to efficiently resolve them.
The timeline for delivery for large scale projects can take months, sometimes longer. When agencies are investing a great deal of time, resources, and budget into large scale solutions, they need to be sure all the work culminates in success. For these types of projects, it’s critical to have a dedicated resource who is watching the big picture – and the minute details. The Project Manager is constantly assessing progress, and can adjust the project plan quickly based on needs if unforeseen circumstances force a change. Projects that are well managed and have oversight by someone whose only task is to manage the project have a higher probability of being delivered on time and on budget than those that don’t.
When a solution provider makes the investment in a dedicated Project Management Office with certified Project Management Professionals to support the successful delivery of the solutions they sell, it shows their commitment to the customers they serve. For these types of solutions provider, it isn’t just about sales, it is about their customers’ success. If your agency is making the investment in a solution, be sure to include a question about project management in your selection criteria. It will go a long way in achieving your mission.