Why Grant PUD has a Project Management Office

In February, 30 members of the Project Management Office (PMO) got together for our biannual meeting to share information about projects in flight, restate our commitment to Grant PUD's values, share goals for 2020, and to bring everyone up to speed about why the PMO was created in the first place.

As I listened to team members present these topics, it occurred to me that there are folks outside of the PMO who may be interested in this information as well – especially the reason why the PMO came into existence. Grant PUD has been running major projects since 1955 – why a PMO now?

In two words, risk reduction. Executing projects in Grant County continues to get more complex. With millions of dollars on the line, changing regulations, growing stakeholder requirements and increasing pressure for return on investment, anything that impacts the schedule, scope or budget of a capital project is considered a risk. And while project managers dislike risk, customers dislike it more! Risk can translate into missed delivery dates, extra cost and other fallout that negatively affect our utility.

In a PMO, project managers focus their time on activities that keep risk at bay, such as putting significant time into upfront planning, following best practices and standardized project management approaches, keeping track of dependencies and impacts outside the immediate project and quickly elevating risks before they become issues. In the PMO, project managers oversee the project work, but they don't do the project work. They also spend a staggering amount of time keeping the project team on task, organizing work and making sure stakeholders are consistently in the loop. This is a key distinction in the project manager role since the PMO was created, and it sets Grant PUD's capital projects up for success in a way that wasn't available to us before.

Given that Grant PUD budgets approximately $100 million annually for capital projects, having a group that specializes in project oversight enables us to keep project performance high and risk low.

Julie Pyper
Senior Manager, Project Management Office