(PMBOK® Guide), the PMO created a handbook that offered standardized terminology, templates and reports, and defines which deliverables should be completed in each phase. It serves as a go-to reference
guide—and a training manual that starts new project managers and
contractors off on the right foot.
“By introducing these standards, there were some rules about when
to start the project and how projects should run. As a result, client
satisfaction improved,” says Nenad Krsikapa, PMP, program manager.
The PMO’s consistent framework defined client touchpoints, set
client expectations for each stage of the project and provided details
around the deliverables for each phase. It ultimately
became the cornerstone for all project engagements.
“Even if different groups approach clients for
different projects, they will use the same methodology and they will use the same documents,” Mr.
Repeatable and recognizable processes made it
easier for clients to interface with the business. But it
also helped reduce cost overruns. In the new framework, the PMO funds only 10
percent of the project estimate once the team opens a project code. It restricts
the spend until project kickoff so that teams can only perform high-level activities, such as aligning stakeholders and clients, formalizing the scope and revising
estimates. This allows Symcor’s leaders to assess the project’s business case and
confirm its potential value—which helps them make more strategic decisions.
“We know what the cost will be and how it’s going to help with the strategy,”
Mr. Vaz says. “So the line of business, the leaders, they are given enough opportunity to decide
whether they should be accepting a project or not.”
The PMO also facilitates greater communication between those in charge of resource manage-
ment, investment forecasting and financial reporting. That enables the lines of business to roll their
investment benefits (such as new revenues or reduced costs) into future financial baseline projec-
tions. The entire framework has led to project cost reductions and more accurate cost and revenue
estimations—and more projects delivered on budget. Overall deviations on investment spend have
reduced from greater than 20 percent in 2011 to less than 5 percent in 2014.
And despite initial fears that the PMO would slow down the business, it’s done the opposite:
Time to project initiation from when a request is submitted has been cut from nearly 100 days
in 2011 to 26 days in 2014.
“We have been able to do more projects at the same cost, which means, from a strategic point
of view, our operational efficiencies have increased,” Mr. Vaz says. “We have increased our profitability with the same amount of investment.”
To rein in operations, the PMO also focused on increasing project transparency. Keeping senior
leadership in the loop required instituting biweekly steering committee meetings for both lines
“We have been
able to do more
projects at the same
cost, which means,
from a strategic
point of view,
—Savio Vaz, Symcor G O