As mentioned on the overview page for project execution and related issues, it has been confirmed repeatedly in practice that strategic planning is only as good as its operational implementation. A lack of implementation experience leads to unnecessary start-up delays, avoidable detours or deviations from the target, which in turn lead to unplanned overheads and not infrequently to the failure of the business plan. In order to systematically counteract such consequences at the outset and throughout the entire project process, it is recommended to establish a dedicated project management office (PMO). A PMO’s role includes the provision of systematic implementation support for growth and restructuring projects, from the definition of measures and the provision of methodological expertise and tools to progress monitoring and board reporting. As shown in Figure 1, the PMO is a functionally independent interface between top management and operational units. From top to bottom, goals are broken down and their implementation is supported and monitored. From bottom to top, there is corresponding progress reporting and, where necessary, escalations.

Figure 1: Project management as an interface between top management and operational units

Essentially, a PMO – in its capacity as an interface – is assigned with four core tasks:

  • Progress tracking – that is, ongoing monitoring of project progress with regard to pre-defined milestones and other target figures (e.g. sales, market share, budget, conversion rates, number of listed products, etc.)
  • Know-how transfer – that is, promotion of the exchange of knowledge between operational project units and the transfer of methodological knowledge to internal resources (external resources should only ever be deployed for a limited period – that is, until such time as sufficient internal resources have been built up)
  • Responsibility management – that is, defining, monitoring and, where necessary, adjusting responsibilities in accordance with the implementation road map set by top management
  • Communication – that is, the centralisation and takeover of communication between top management and operational units

In order to systematically fulfil its complex monitoring function, a PMO must rely on a tried-and-tested “PMO toolbox” consisting of various elements. As can be seen from Figure 2, there are six elements in particular  thathave proven to be particularly helpful:

Figure 2: Overview of the various elements of a tried-and-tested PMO toolbox 

  • Task tickets: Standardised templates in which individual objectives (including their contribution to the overall project) are clearly documented and monitored according to previously defined variables
  • Consolidation tool: Tool for consolidating all individual measures into an overall financial picture and for determining target and actual deviations from comparison values (e.g. comparison to plan, previous year, competition, etc.)
  • Management report: Standardised report summarising the main project results, necessary decisions and next steps, presented in a scope and format that is tailored to the respective target group
  • Guidelines & instructions: Documentation for reporting, which informs all relevant parties when and in which formats content must be provided in order to adhere to the reporting plan
  • Reporting process: Overview of the typical reporting process with responsibilities and deadlines for reporting that complies with the original plan
  • PMO organisation: Overview of PMO organisation, including the designation of roles and responsibilities

 

Overall, our experience across many projects in various industries shows that a systematic project management office can make a pivotal contribution to successful implementation. We have experienced project managers and the right methods and tools to offer you optimal support for PMO implementation.

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Markus Fost, MBA, is an expert in e-commerce, online business models and digital transformation, with broad experience in the fields of strategy, organisation, corporate finance and operational restructuring.

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Markus Fost

Managing Partner
Markus Fost, MBA, is an expert in e-commerce, online business models and digital transformation, with broad experience in the fields of strategy, organisation, corporate finance and operational restructuring.

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