The project management office (PMO) implements and then makes sure that company standards and best practices are maintained across all of an organization’s projects. These come in the form of standardized policies, processes and methodologies in the project management strategy and approach.
Many PMOs —including Boost Midwest — find using templates help project managers and teams from repeating the same tasks each time a new project begins. Templates allow the fast, efficient capture and consolidation of key data across all projects, providing valuable information to managers. They also help provide management with visibility and transparency of the entire project by:
Tracking and analyzing project performance and effectiveness.
Identify and mitigate risks.
Ensure quality and consistency in projects.
Handle project scheduling.
Provide project management best practices and training to the organization.
Ensure quality and consistency in projects.
But perhaps most important, templates can improve efficiencies and successful outcomes by providing a blueprint for many steps within the life of a project.
Templates encourage repeatability and efficiency by allowing you to set up projects, tasks, reports, and other files without having to start from scratch every time. Customizable templates move one step beyond a standard template, as its structure and information can be adjusted suit a particular project's needs.
One example is the project charter. A project charter template can help improve this crucial early planning process through formalizing the requirements and steps that your company requires. This means the project manager doesn’t have to start from a blank screen to create a charter for each new project but has a project-tested framework to follow.
Apart from the project charter, project management templates are also used for:
The project plan.
The project schedule.
The project communication plan.
The risk management plan.
The work breakdown structure.
The Gantt Chart.
5 Ways PMO Templates Improves Project Outcomes
There are pros and cons to using a PMO template but for many organizations the pros far outweigh the cons. First, here are five ways using a PMO template can improve the outcome of your project:
1. Shortens delivery time.
Having a template ready for standard documentation or reports saves time, both by kickstarting the process and by ensuring that all necessary information is captured.
2. Creates set expectations.
By using a template with preset fields and cues to enter information, all stakeholders involved will know what is meant to be included and how to locate necessary and new information.
3. Captures best practices.
While the standard best practices are always a starting point, a template can help catch the practices that work best for your organization by documenting which processes are most successful.
4. Ensures required information is included.
All projects have requirements that are both internal — required by the company — and external —
fulfilling state or federal regulations. Using a template that includes all these requirements ensures that all the necessary boxes are checked.
5. Doubles as a training tool.
Since a template lays out the processes and steps, new team members and project managers will have a shorter learning curve, with more time left to complete the project from start to finish.
There can be drawbacks to using project templates, however, and the PMO should keep a close watch to ensure a template for a specific task isn’t creating a roadblock, by:
Wasting time. If you find fitting a task into a template ends up lengthening the time needed to complete the task, that’s a cue that the template either needs to be customized or the task is not best served by a template.
Hurting innovation. It’s not so easy to think outside the box when you are filling in boxes on a template. Using a template over and over again can lead to tunnel vision because the focus is on the information the template expects you to provide.
Repeating errors. Templates should be improved based on how they perform. If the PMO doesn’t evaluate templates in an ongoing manner, errors can be carried over from project to project.
Project management templates can jumpstart many projects. So, for better efficiency and successful outcomes, Boost Midwest looks to best practices. First, applying project management templates and second, customizing them to internal and external project requirements and needs. At the same time, we recommend keeping a firm eye on the template process to ensure they match the tasks they are designed for.
Ready to learn more about how Boost Midwest can help you optimize your project management and operations? Schedule your free consultation call with us today using our Quick Schedule Link here.