“If you think of standardization as the best that you know today, but which is to be improved tomorrow; you get somewhere.” – Henry Ford
So let’s start this journey with what’s a PMO; later, I’ll write about PMO’s activities, challenges and how to setup an effective PMO (at least as we did).
I hope you’ll find interesting this series. Have a good read and remember to rate the article.
A Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within a business, agency or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization.
The concept of PMO was originated in the 1950s when its role was mainly in the military or in critical projects that was staffed with specialized project staff to ensure completion.
Their purpose was to control specific projects and be closer to the customer.
The primary goal of a PMO is to achieve benefits from standardizing and following project management policies, processes and methods.
Over time, a PMO generally will become an important vehicle within organizations to provide project management services that support the organization’s projects delivery and contribute to their performance through guidance, documentation, and metrics related to the practices involved in managing and implementing projects.
Some PMOs are separate entities reporting to higher levels of the organization, while others are embedded within divisions or another function within the organization.
Some PMOs are called Center of Excellence (CoE).
The PMO Lifecycle is divided into three main phases:
It’s known as the assessment phase or the discovery phase; the purpose is to define the organization’s objective in creating a PMO, identifying the goals and determining the short term and long term plan in the form of a defined roadmap.
We should work with the executive team and senior management to establish the goals answering to some questions:
The roadmap should include details on how the PMO will be established; the costs, resources and the timeframe for the build-out.
It’s the implementation phase of PMO; in this phase we should establish an execution plan for implementing the approved roadmap activities.
It’s a sort of continuous improvement sustaining the performance of the PMO and contributing to the success of the PMO in the organization.
In order to get a real success, we should establish an effective feedback loop system incorporating organization voice into the improvements.
Note that we could treat the first two phases as single projects; the third phase is operational (it runs the day-to-day activities and addresses the continuous improvement).
In this article I’ll provide you only an overview of the types and roles of the various PMOs; in the next articles, we’ll analyze the types in every detail.
There are three types of PMO, Project-based, Program-based and Portfolio-based PMO; before implementing one of them, we should establish what type of PMO our organization requires, whether it is a Project, Program or Portfolio Management Office.
The Project-based PMO has a focus on project level deliverables.
Its area of focus include:
The Program-based PMO has a focus on program level outcomes.
The Portfolio-based PMO has a focus on portfolio level outcomes and how to align organization strategic initiatives to realize benefits.
That’s all for now; in the next weeks, we’ll deepen the activities and the challenges of every type of PMO.
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