For most Indians, PMO means the prime minister’s office. But, Indian companies are slowly waking up to another PMO, project management office, that allows them to closely monitor the execution of their projects, often hit by time and cost overruns.
Companies having a PMO in place have had a higher successes rate in completing a project on time. Project teams have a PMO have found that it ensures consistency and uniformity in project delivery, which helps them meet performance criteria, according to a survey by Project Management Institute (PMI) and KPMG.
While progress reports are the primary tools for project monitoring, companies say independent project reviews and oversight are effective measures for monitoring and control.
While companies like L&T, Punj Llyod, Essar Group, HCC, BHEL, Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam have put in PMOs, others are warming up to the concept. A key problem: like an ISO-9000 certification, companies are unable to quantify the benefit of project management, said Raj Kalady, country director, Project Management Institute. “But companies become competitive, and benefit from higher HR morale,” he said.
PMI is a global association of project managers, which tries to advance the practice, science and profession of project management. PMI is trying to promote the concept among companies, academia and government bodies.
Besides lack of awareness, a key factor which has been hampering the growth of this profession, is the inadequate supply of talent. There are only a handful of institutions in the country, mostly in the West, that offer full-time courses in project management, and PMI has been working with these institutions to improve their focus.
Raajeev Batra, executive director, advisory services, KPMG, said that companies need to create a structure for risk management and controls. Take contractors, for instance. Batra said they have good risk management at the bidding stage (they know what they are getting into, and know how to absorb and mitigate the risks). But their risk managing capacities, when it comes to delivering or handing over the projects, remain weak.