Project management office (PMO) principles can increase alignment of projects with strategic initiatives, implement best-in-class practices to produce consistent outcomes, and provide actionable intel for continuous improvements. A simple but essential sequence of steps enables targeted measures that elevate performance.

Organizations typically face a common set of challenges: prioritizing their projects, then executing them within budget and on schedule. This requires juggling budgets, staffing, schedules, contracts and communications across teams — and often across multiple technology platforms.

Technology can be empowering, but without effective business governance and a strategic framework, it can become an encumbrance just as easily. By applying the principles of a project management office (PMO), systems and processes can be aligned and improved to optimize project delivery. On average, organizations achieve an average of $71 million in revenue or cost reductions from PMOs, according to the Project Management Institute.

The route from strategy to customized solution follows a simple, vital path through four basic steps: organizational assessment, business process design, technology consulting and implementation, and continuous improvement.


To improve your business practices, you must first comprehend them. An organizational assessment comprises a holistic review of current project management practices, an inventory of current software and tools, and an assessment of the organization’s appetite for change.

Through a combination of interviews with leadership and other professionals, as well as a thorough review of existing information, a picture emerges of the current state of the organization. Only then can organizational change management be implemented to bridge the gap between the current and future state and achieve the necessary employee adoption of enterprisewide change initiatives.



Sound business processes streamline workflow, reduce unproductive work, align objectives and optimize resource utilization. This stage focuses on determining the right blend of management systems to organize and capitalize upon existing process and supplement where needed.

Bringing in a thorough delivery perspective — from planning and engineering to construction, coupled with industry-specific experience — can facilitate tailored, streamlined solutions that integrate business processes across an organization. The result is a creative and efficient project management framework, which draws on stakeholder ingenuity at the right time to facilitate a paradigm shift from reactive administration of tasks to allowing project managers to focus on proactive management of risks and uncertainties.


Your business systems and software provide the tools and information you need for daily operation. Specialized systems may be necessary for different components of your business, accompanied by significant investment in the systems, staffing and training.

The true differentiator for enterprise project management is the integration of software within your governance process. The strategies developed in earlier stages will help dictate how processes and systems — whether on-site or in the cloud — can be coordinated to facilitate the smooth flow of data. Enhanced transparency and accessibility of data help track project progress and results.

Some business functions might require software solutions that are not served by off-the-shelf tools. Customized applications, equally accessible from mobile platforms or desktops, can fill these gaps. A thorough assessment should identify your organization’s technology strategy and match it against the software and tools that will best serve those priorities.


Implementing PMO principles is a good start toward enhanced efficiency and improved project management. To thrive in an evolving market, organizations must commit to continuing to innovate and embrace change. Data analytics can help you identify areas that could be strengthened — data’s value is greater when it is successfully interpreted to drive actions that enhance performance.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) collected and analyzed during the PMO process should continuously inform business decisions by incorporating real-world observations and calibrating approaches to optimize outcomes. With a tailored combination of data collection, visualization and assessment, prioritizing and gaining efficiencies is made easier, more successful and more productive when filtered through iterative improvements.


The technology consulting and implementation stage draws on a variety of tools to optimize every aspect of operational decision-making, including:

  • Capital planning
  • Cost management
  • Financial forecasting and budgeting
  • Issue management
  • Portfolio management
  • Project management
  • Project scheduling
  • Release management
  • Resource management
  • Risk management


True partnerships lead to successful projects. At Burns & McDonnell, we dedicate experienced and innovative leaders to your work, beyond the specific needs of a particular job and always with safety in mind. We build long-term relationships as our people — engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists and more — become valued extensions of your own teams, often for decades at a time. It’s a point of pride that our clients find it difficult to tell the difference between a Burns & McDonnell employee and one of their own. And that’s no surprise, considering that we, as employee-owners, carry the commitment of ownership: We succeed when you do.


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