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Establishing PMO in context of BFSI in Bangladesh: Perception and Reality!

Banking and Financial enterprises seeking more efficiency and tighter monitoring of projects are opening project management offices (PMO) in growing numbers. You must be wondering what is PMO and why we need it in banking industry? If your organizations have multiple projects running, sooner or later you may have to consultant a Project Management Office (PMO) or a department called PMO! In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, the Project Management Office (PMO) is defined as, “A project management office (PMO) is an organizational structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques”(PMI, 2017, p. 48)

The project management office may have organization-wide responsibility. In short, a PMO delivers strategic initiatives. There could be different types of PMO including supportive, controlling and directive PMO!

A project management office makes sure company follows procedures, standard practices and delivering project on time, on budget as per the requirement.

According to PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession, those companies that align their enterprise-wide PMO to strategy had 38 percent more projects meet original goals and business intent than those that did not. They also had 33 percent fewer projects deemed failures.

Banking and financial industry is growing fast in Bangladesh and with the vision of financial inclusion, it has become the nations top priority! Each bank has multiple project initiatives to hit the target including implementing state of the art new branches, agent banking, mobile banking, core banking systems, advanced data centers, banking as a service etc.

While multiple stakeholders and decision makers are coming to realize the importance of the PMO, many are under the impression that the setup and running of a PMO is as easy as taking the decision and hiring the right resources.Many of the banks has project office but mostly these offices are on supportive mode and it is difficult to scale up to directive or controlling stage of PMO to realize the full benefit of having a project management office. Following are the common causes why most of the PMO fails in financial industry:

Common Causes of Failed PMO:

• Authority conflict with PMO and senior project officials specially in controlling types of PMO

• Underpowered PMO

• Misunderstood or Underestimated by key stakeholders

• High/Unrealistic expectation from management

• PMO processes are very complicated

• PMO is not aligned with Company Objectives

• Lack of expert resources to run project management office.

Each organization has different expectations around the PMO. It is a consequence of the different frameworks that can be applied to its creation. It is also difficult to establish common threads that can be used to establish a set of parameters to be used to direct the creation of any PMO. Almost all the banks in Bangladesh have their project office/PMO but most of them are operating in the initial supportive stage of PMO. The first step in establishing the organizational value for the PMO is to formulate a concise mission statement that summarizes the intent for establishing or evolving the PMO. The next episode will talk about how to setup a PMO from the scratch! Stay tuned!

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