Properly Establishing and Managing Your Project Management Office Benefits Your Project Teams and Accelerates the Success of Your Organization...
Not all organizations require the structure and discipline of a PMO, sometimes simply called a Project Office. Determining factors might be any combination of:
In addition, there are several organizational factors which, if in place, will accelerate acceptance of the guidance, coaching, monitoring, and project control afforded through a PMO.
The success of your organization’s Project Office will be due to the value they provide to the individual projects as resource, coach, and guide. The PMO should not be implemented as the “project police”, involved in monitoring and metrics.
Once your organization determines that they should implement a PMO structure, a small cross-functional team (from Finance, Sales, Operations, Administration, etc.) should be assembled to work with the designated PMO Leader to determine PMO objectives and measures of success. Their input on the PMO objectives and success criteria is important because these are the Stakeholders of the individual projects.
The primary product of this team should be the construction of a Project Management Office Charter. I have included a link to a template for a PMO Charter on this page (click on the "folder" icon below this paragraph). Instructions for completing the Project Management Office Charter document are contained within the template.
The approval of the PMO Charter, by the PMO Sponsor and your Executive Management Team will signal the establishment of your Project Management Office. The Charter should provide information on funding (for at least the first year of operation), resourcing, objectives, criteria for success, and governance. The PMO Lead must have the Executive Management Team (or your PMO Sponsor, if she/he is a member of the Executive Team) communicate, the creation of the PMO, its purpose, structure, benefits to the entire company, while emphasizing the full support of Executive Management.
The Project Management Office Charter becomes the initial “roadmap” for the creation of the PMO.
The Charter will also contain an initial setup schedule. There will be a transition point from “PMO setup” to “PMO operation”. The PMO Charter document will also address the issues of PMO operations.
An important part of the PMO Charter is to determine “why” the PMO is necessary for your organization and “what” is its primary purpose.
A Project Management Office is formed to provide different services within the organization, such as:
Remember, statements regarding the specific purpose of your organization’s PMO should be clearly described within your PMO Charter.
Although the role your PMO plays may change over time, it will generally fall into several functional areas. Which function the PMO performs and the overall benefits realized by your organization will depend on the commitment of the organization leadership, the culture of your organization, and how well your organization deals with change.
Essentially, your PMO can be a(n):
Although some companies may follow a much more complex path to reach their “Centralized PMO”, as evidenced by an article in Information Systems Management, Fall 2004, titled “Evolving the Project Management Office: A Competency Continuum”, all companies will realize measurable benefits in establishing a PMO.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) and several other sources provide numerous books and materials focused on implementing a PMO structure. A few are included in the right column of this page====>
If you are asked to assume the leadership of an existing PMO, your initial activities must focus on:
Once the revised PMO charter is approved you should take stock of the “health” of the current projects. I recommend the following steps (most likely you will perform these activities during your 2nd and 3rd month):
Once you obtain a complete, re-baselined view of all projects, present the view to the PMO Governance Team. Make any "going-forward" recommendations and obtain approvals (and any required budget and/or resource adjustments). These steps and the control exercised by you, as the PMO Lead, will depend on the level of authority expressed in the PMO Charter.
Determining the Project Office success criteria will depend on whether you are inheriting an existing PMO or establishing a new one.
If you inherit an operating PMO, review current success criteria with your PMO Sponsor. Obtain their feedback, suggestions, and recommendations for change. Make sure you understand the reasons for their recommendations and their view of whether the current PMO operations kept pace with organizational changes.
If you establish a new PMO, remember to align the PMO success criteria, documented within the Project Management Office Charter, with the objectives of the PMO (also contained in the Charter) and the overall business objectives. Since the PMO Objectives will follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula, the Success Criteria must also follow the SMART formula.
Actually, under either scenario, I highly recommend that you make sure your objectives follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula.
The S.M.A.R.T. "formula" tells us that the objectives of your Project Office, as well as the criteria to measure objective attainment, must be:
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