The term "best practice" is thrown around a lot these days. Many times there is no documented evidence for a practice to be recognized as "best". In the world of project management best practices can be difficult to quantify, and because of this, it makes it difficult to determine which of these practices might work in your organization. Project management best practices exist, however you need to look at the data closely to determine what is best for your organization.
Proven practices that can help an organization improve project management results are:
Establish a formal project management structure
Create measurable, repeatable processes created to form a project management methodology tailored to the organizations needs that is aligned with the Guide to the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).
Identify best of breed project management tools and technology
Get buy-in and executive involvement in project management
Hire experienced project management practitioners
Develop a formal project management training program
Develop a process to ensure alignment of projects to organizational strategy
Develop a clear strategy for oversight, ownership, and prioritization of projects, programs, and portfolios
If one of the practices above is missing or neglected an organization won't have an effective or efficient project management program. It is clear from readily available data that most organizations do a poor job of ensuring that strategic goals and objectives are aligned with the operational work, programs, and projects. To bridge this gap a Program Management Office, Project Support office, or a similar named organization is required. A properly run project management office can ensure that project management processes and projects/programs are aligned with organizational strategies.
Some areas that organizations need the most help with regarding enterprise project management are:
Organizational project reporting
Project coordination among various groups, departments, and divisions
Resource alignment among various departments and projects
Project process development and management
Project management training
Management of project management tools, templates and processes
To build organizational project management maturity your organization will need to determine:
The current project management maturity level (an assessment)
Determine how and what a new project management organization will function and be measured
Develop or refine project, program and portfolio/strategic management processes
In closing, to develop a high-performing enterprise project management office, an organization requires courageous leadership at the highest levels of the organization. It requires leaders with vision, not personal agendas of building empires.
Finally, don't follow the proven failed strategy of having a Project Management office report to a particular functional group. This model has been tried and has failed to many times, especially in the IT environment. Studies and surveys have shown that the most effective project management groups are independent of functional groups.