Application of PMO in government entities in Saudi Arabia

Application of PMO in government entities in Saudi Arabia

Written By : Bakkah

12 Jun 2024

Table of Content

Institutions usually face the similar difficulties in managing projects, those difficulties can be summed up in their inability to execute projects within the budget and the schedule defined, thus affecting the outputs of these projects and causing customer dissatisfaction. The idea of PMOs emerged as a solution for those problems and difficulties faced by projects, and now it has an increasing role in managing different projects across organizations and companies.

The definition of Project Management Office ( PMO)?

Project Management Office (PMO) is defined as an entity or a department within the organization where anything related to managing projects and programs is directed to it. Its function is to improve the performance and results of project management and also to support managers in achieving projects’ goals as different types of projects are dealt with as a Portfolio of projects, interactively managed.

How to establish a suitable Project Management office for my organization?

A foreign survey was done on 450 institutions, 303 of which have a project management office which represents 67% of the total sample, some of the important results of this study are:

  • 50% of the institutions have found an improvement in the success of the projects.
  • The success rate reached 65% in institutions that had a (PMO) for more than 4 years.
  • The success rate of projects reached 37% in institutions that had a (PMO) for less than a year.
  • The most important reasons behind implementing (PMO) are:
    1. Increasing the percentage of success for the projects
    2. Applying standard qualifications for managing the projects.

It has been noticed that when mentioning the reasons for establishing a PMO, decreasing costs is not considered among those reasons. Also, a study conducted by PMI and CIO pointed out that 74% of researched institutions didn't benefit from the decreasing of the costs in PMO, and that's because the main goal behind implementing it is delivering the projects efficiently and in high quality. However, PMO will reduce costs through good resource management and the integration of small projects management.

What are the tasks of the project management office?

  • Managing the portfolio of the projects: forming a team of program managers who have the ability to manage multi projects at the same time and allocate their resources.
  • Evaluate, control and follow up on every project (cost of achieving the institution's goals and strategies).
  • Supporting projects: to support and guide project management teams.
  • Projects data center: it should contain all the details and information about the current and previous projects, to facilitate access to the needed information easily in the future.
  • Standardized Methodology: to find a common point of reference for managing all the projects of the institution.
  • Training and development: to plan and implement the needs of the team whether it's training, developing skills or building abilities.

The main question of this Article has not been answered yet: to what extent are PMOs applied within governmental entities in Saudi Arabia?

The culture of establishing project management offices has expanded within governmental institutions of KSA in different degrees, some of them were established to manage specific projects and others were established to manage specific departments, however, the dominant feature of the majority of project management offices is that they focus on managing technical projects, but with few exceptions as shown in the following examples.

Ministry of Health - the electronic health program

The e-health market in Saudi Arabia is considered one of the largest growing markets in the Middle East, at a growth rate of 11% annually. The Ministry of Health established a program in e-health called “Integrated and Comprehensive Health Program (ICHM)”. It is classified as the largest e-health program in history, where in 2020; it will connect the data of 70,000 beds and 3, 500 pieces of medical information in each patient's registry, and 1200 servers to serve this integrated work, which will be managed through a unified electronic gate.

In order to perform this large and complex project, according to the set strategy, the Ministry of Health decided to establish a project management office (PMO), to handle all the details of this project, and manage, and follow up its implementation accurately.

The ministry of interior- National Information Center

The Kingdom is considered the most stable and safe country in the region. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for maintaining security, and it operates that through 30 followed-up institutions.

The ministery of interior- National Information Center

The tasks vary between these 30 different institutions within the ministry; where it provides citizens and residents with security services as well as civil transactions. , the National Information Centre (NIC) supervises the coordination activities between those huge institutions within the Kingdom, the (NIC) includes a huge computerized system, in addition to all the necessary services and means of secure communications.

In order to manage this work successfully and provide citizens with the needed services, the Ministry of Interior worked to establish a Project Management Office that follows the (NIC). The office manages more than 80 technical projects as well as 15 different programs, its main role is to follow-up, perform, and coordinate between these projects. In addition to overcoming the challenges which these projects face due to the diversity of cultures or other administrative challenges.

NIC organization chart

Jeddah Municipality

Jeddah Municipality

Projects with a cost of more than 1.5 billion Saudi Riyals are executed annually, but the Management of the municipality is not satisfied with the performance and they faced some problems, such as:

  • Lack of availability of technical staff required for project management.
  • Not applying standardized procedures in managing projects.
  • Weak performance in executing projects (time, quality, cost).
  • Lack of availability of information about projects.
  • Poor communication and lack of coordination among activities.
  • Repeated failures and inability to avoid them.
  • Slowness in decision-making.

Thus, the municipality decided to establish a project management office, which is considered to be the first PMO within the Saudi Arabian municipalities.

Jeddah Municipality


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