Event Readiness: Is Your IPO PMO Ready?

Reinventing project management Practices to drive companies toward a successful IPO

Corporate Finance & Restructuring

September 28, 2013

The high-risk, high-reward nature of becoming a public company in today’s environment requires careful planning, expertise and proactive oversight. A Project Management Office (PMO) team experienced in event readiness planning and with corporate finance and capital markets expertise can act as a trusted advisor to executives throughout the preparation process, driving execution toward establishing a solid foundation for a company to operate post-initial public offering (IPO).

Project Management Offices are not new — they have been used on a wide variety of projects across industries to different degrees of effectiveness. Often associated with information technology (IT) projects, merger integration activities and other large-scale initiatives, PMOs traditionally have acted as taskmasters, holding people to timelines and work plans.

A PMO also is critical to a company preparing for an IPO, as executives, and chief financial officers (CFO) in particular, have time and resource constraints caused by the daily demands of their positions and, many times, are unfamiliar with the IPO experience. To properly prepare a company for an initial public offering, a PMO should have the corporate finance and capital markets expertise to advise and execute throughout the process, navigating the CFO team through common IPO risks and pitfalls.

The traditional Project Management Office establishes governance and reporting processes for a project and monitors daily progress of the work. The PMO, in this role, frequently is highly standardized and is commonly perceived as a task manager that lacks deep experience or subject matter expertise on project objectives and issues. As a result, the traditional PMO is limited in its ability to provide strategic advice, proactively raise issues and risks, and execute along the way. Since the IPO process is an enterprise endeavor impacting the entire organization, all facets of the process have to be managed — which requires a multidimensional view on processes and issues. The PMO has to be adept in handling complex projects that will affect people, processes and technology, as well as issues that relate to legal, compliance, control and other areas.

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