Five Best Action Steps for PMO Leadership during Covid-19

5 Best Practices in Project Management For PMO Leadership 

1.Implement Remote Workforce Policies 

Covid-19 has disrupted organizations by having team members work from home instead of in the office.  Working from home is not new for everybody but for many team members, it is disruptive.As a leader it is important to implement policies which allow workers the ability to work effectively.  One of the challenges that is seen by some leaders is that they start to micromanage because team members are not co-located and this can create issues with employees who are not used to that type of management style.  It is best to be sensitive to team members working from home and base evaluations on deliverables and results instead of number of hours worked.My experience has been that good employees will work well from home and will not take advantage of not having a boss looking over their shoulder.  


2.Perform an Impact Assessment of the PMO

It is important to conduct an impact assessment of the PMO and have a clear understanding of the PMO capabilities and the impacts caused by COVID-19.  Is the PMO limited in its delivery due to work from home?  If so, what are some alternative ways of ensuring the delivery of value?  Based on this assessment, PMO Leaders should be flexible with the organizational structure and align resources so the most important initiatives are being met.  Shifts in priority might occur due to COVID-19 and its important that the PMO is in position to respond to those changes.We can help your organization by providing interim PMO Leadership.


3.Develop a Business Continuity Plan

It is one the best practices in project management.PMO Leaders should make sure that the team is able to meet its deliverables in the new normal and eliminate roadblocks that might be impacting performance.  Specifically, technology problems are more likely to occur with a remote workforce and you will want to make sure there are policies in place to help staff with those issues. 

 Does each of your team members have the equipment needed to get their job done? Is your team members able to successfully conduct meetings through teleconferencing software and share content through collaborative worksites?   During this time, it is possible that some capabilities will go away due to shifting priorities and you will want to make sure that you have a staffing plan to address those changes so that you have the right people working on the right things.  

One of the strategies that organizations are seeing is using automation to conduct some of the PMO governance activities which had been previously done by a team members.  Successful PMO Leaders are taking a look at the PMO staffing plans and roles and finding ways to improve the PMO’s value proposition by focusing on what is most important to stakeholders.


4.Communicate Openly and Share Knowledge

 One of the biggest challenges for PMO Leaders and staff is the lack of interaction with other team members.  It is easy to feel left out when you are working from home but there are still ways to create team engagement.  It is important for the PMO leader to set the example by sharing knowledge.  There are going to be questions and anxiety about what is happening and it is best to be transparent and communicate honestly and openly.  Find ways to engage team members virtually so team members do not feel alone and make it a point to call your team members and check on them personally.  Asking them how they are doing and if they need any help or support will go a long way to increasing morale.  

5.Show Compassionate Leadership

This is a difficult time for many team members.  Besides working from home, there are other disruptions from COVID-19 including impacts to children and schools and other family and medical circumstances.  Be understanding and flexible and be willing to work with the team member so they can have that right work-life balance.  Sometimes, it might mean that team members could have different work hours so they can take care of family obligations.

Conclusion of Best Practices in Project Management:

I think that as long as the employee is getting his or her deliverables done and delivering with quality, there should be opportunity to integrate flexible work hours.Change and employee turnover is inevitable, and we know how difficult it can be to find the right PMO Leader.  It can take anywhere between 1 to 6 months to find that right leader, but the work does not stop.  We can help your organization by providing interim PMO Leadership.  


James Proctor, Managing Partner

[email protected]

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