A lot of organisations strategy implementation have failed due to the complexity in dealing with multiple projects. However, to handle projects effectively, it is essential for an organisation to set up a Project Management Office (PMO). This article aims at discussing the relevance and the importance of setting up a PMO.


For decades, organisations have attempted to unlock value by matching structures to their strategies. Several attempts to successfully achieve this have proven futile for some organisations, while others have struggled.


Realistically, many strategy execution processes fail because organisations do not have something worth executing, even though these organisations make an extra effort to engage consultants.  The problem often plays out as follows – The strategy consultants execute the assignment for a couple of weeks and document the new strategy in a weighty report. Next, strategy retreats or town hall meetings are held, this is where feedback is presented, and a brainstorming session is done.  The consultants leave, and then nothing happens.


For every decision to implement an initiative, the very first phase is to plan.


Strategic planning is an attempt to craft and deliver strategic decisions and actions that shape and lead an organisation while supporting its corporate goals.


Implementation is an essential part of the strategic planning process. To guarantee survival and success, firms need not to only formulate suitable initiatives but also must ensure appropriate processes for execution at all organisational levels.


A strategy involves a clear set of choices that define what the firm is going to do and what it’s not going to do. It is expected a strategy would have laid out objectives for every initiative and that they are time boxed.


Many strategies fail at the implementation stage, despite ample efforts of hard-working people. This happens because of the lack of clear choices and workable deadlines for execution.


According to the PMI Global Survey of Project Management Professionals (2017), strategy implementation fails at a high rate; where training, the multiplicity of projects and approach inconsistencies are prevalent.


To handle the project effectively and to bridge the gap between the set strategic objectives and the actual implementation, it is essential to embrace the set-up of a Project Management Office (PMO).


The Project Management Office is a centralised, coordinating body within an organisation that provides a focal point for the field of project management. A PMO is a strategic component of an organisation that is used to standardise the portfolio, programme, or project-related governance processes and facilitate the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques. The PMO is employed to improve the organisation’s ability to implement strategies and deliver projects on time. It ensures execution is within budget and quality standards. With the PMO, projects are implemented to best practice and in the right direction, essentially helping to generate value for the organisation.


Due to the multiplicity and complexity of some initiatives, especially in the private sector, it is ideal that the implementation and execution of the strategic initiatives utilises a PMO approach. By an organisation using a PMO, the risk of initiative failures and non-alignment with intent reduces.


The successful implementation of laid out strategies is dependent on a combination of the management of time, cost, scope and quality. A PMO will reduce the risk of any creep beyond what is specified in the initial plan. But how does this apply?


A PMO will ensure:


  • Strong oversight and control of implementation from start to conclusion, assuring execution is delivered according to best practices
  • Strong and visible leadership involvement & oversight
  • Leadership drives projects/initiatives through implementation (The Steering Committee) to close-out
  • Regular project reporting is used to manage progress, risks and issues
  • Surprises are eliminated, and decisions are data-driven


No single approach works for all projects. For example, a system that’s right for a large project can easily swamp a small one with paperwork. While a system that works for small projects may not have enough muscle for a big one.


Ever wondered why seemingly successful start-ups fold up after a couple of years? There may be no structure to see initiatives through till the end, and every organisation can avoid this by embracing the Project Management Office (PMO).


Written by:

Nnenna Eke