Four years ago, Symcor’s project success rate stood at 55 percent. Satis- faction was plummeting—and even Symcor’s board of directors had lost faith in the company’s ability to deliver projects.
Yet despite the risks to client retention and new business growth,
the organization—which provides payment processing services to
financial companies—was hesitant to establish a PMO. Stakeholders worried it would add overhead without a measurable ROI. They
thought standardized processes would translate to project managers
being policed—and that time to market would slow to a crawl.
So the nascent PMO team focused on proving its value. It trained,
coached and mentored the company’s project managers and developed
a living project framework that teams could adapt to each initiative.
“If certain deliverables as prescribed by the processes do not make
sense for a project in question, they’re dropped once associated risk for
doing so is assessed,” says Haresh Desai, vice president of the PMO.
It didn’t take long for the PMO to make its case. By 2013, Symcor’s
project success rate had jumped to 96 percent—with less than 0.5 percent of the organization’s overall gross revenue going to the PMO. The PMO
was also delivering increased project consistency across the company’s lines of
business, Mr. Desai says.
“This innate execution certainty has increased the predictability of the project life span, total project spend and the tangible benefits, allowing Symcor to
better manage its business,” he says.
These results stem, in part, from the PMO’s strong emphasis on due diligence. When a project begins, the PMO funds 10 percent of the project estimate, which restricts efforts to essential high-level activities. The PMO also
provides ongoing oversight through biweekly steering committee meetings and
By running more successful projects, the PMO is helping to deliver powerful
business results. Since the implementation of the PMO, Symcor’s client satisfaction has surged by 20 percent, paving the way for even more opportunities.
“A higher project success rate has enabled Symcor to embark on growth
initiatives,” Mr. Desai says.
Righting the Ship
The PMO was
—Haresh Desai, Symcor Inc.