Project Management

'P' is for Prioritization: 4 Things Your PMO Must Focus On

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and project manager living and working in London. She runs The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specializing in project management.

The ‘P’ in PMO can stand for a lot of things…project, program, portfolio, etc. But what if it stood for prioritization?

I think that one of the most important things a PMO can do is prioritize. The PMO team sees all the projects coming in and understands the resource commitments for each of them. It has visibility across all project risks and benefits. This wealth of information can be used to make decisions about what is important and what should be worked on.

There are lots of things that need prioritizing, but for me the four most important elements are people, projects, principles and processes.

1. Prioritizing people
We can view a PMO through many lenses, but the one I prefer to use is one that puts people at the heart of delivery. Yes, we can make lists of business outcomes and track benefits, but projects are done by people. No people means no outcomes or benefits, so it starts with the humans.

When I think about prioritizing people, several things come to mind:

  • Making sure people don’t burn out by creating sensible resource and capacity plans for each project
  • Ensuring everyone has an ongoing commitment to professional development and learning
  • Being aware of the mental health of the wider team
  • Prioritizing the right people (family comes before work)

The PMO can support all of these ways of prioritizing people by …

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