WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-Allegacy FCU's new Project Management Office (PMO) has the credit union completing more initiatives that drive the bottom line, and avoiding efforts that don't.
According to Donna Hennessey, special projects manager, that is what truly improves performance within an organization. "The PMO eliminated unnecessary projects that are not aligned with organizational objectives and keeps projects on track, making sure efforts get done on time and on budget, and that they do not creep from the original scope."
The PMO is an online tool that resides on the credit union's intranet and which standardizes the project management process. It has removed a great deal of project duplication, makes it clear who owns each effort, and significantly improved project communication throughout the company, Hennessey said. "It makes projects easy to follow. Anyone in the organization can see where a project stands at any time. And, measurement is much simpler."
Much of the credit for the CU's project performance can be attributed to the fact projects are now managed online. The PMO establishes a "workspace" for each project/team. "It's where they document their timelines, milestones, anything related to the project," said Megan Smoot, project coordinator. "It has a report center that keeps a list of our project reports."
In addition to standardizing project management tools, the PMO raises individual accountability and visibility of project progress. "We also have a PMO blog, I update the site with relevant articles, and share best practices," explained Smoot.
Before initiatives are entered into the PMO website, they are submitted to the PMO review board. Efforts must meet one of the following criteria to be approved: affect more than 5,000 members, take longer than 30 days, have more than $10,000 in expenses, or involve more than two departments.
The board then reviews submissions for alignment to objectives, benefits to the member and business, potential ROI, estimated cost, time to implement, and resources needed. If the project fits within the credit union's strategy, it's approved and assigned a project team and resources.
"Before the PMO we had no internal process to drive alignment of work to organizational objectives and solidify project-related communications throughout the credit union, and we could not tell how many projects were in process at once," Hennessey said.
The PMO has been operational for less than a year, so Hennessey said it is too soon to measure the companywide impact. However, the $966-million CU knows the PMO works. "We are much more efficient and focused, working toward the things that drive organizational objectives without other unnecessary projects getting in the way."