According to the definition in Project Management Institute (PMI) PMBOK Fifth Edition, the Project Management Office (PMO) is a management structure that standardizes the project related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of one or more projects.
PMO is also applicable to program and portfolio management offices. By definition, program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually and portfolio is a collection of components (i.e. projects, programs, portfolios and other work such as maintenance and related ongoing operations) that are grouped together to facilitate the effective management of that work in order to meet the strategic business objectives.
The PMO is established within an organization based on its strategic objective, in which it could play supporting, controlling or directive roles.
- In a supporting role the PMO is more consultative in nature. The goal is to provide templates, best practices, training, and a knowledge base including lessons learned from previous portfolios, programs or projects. The PMO's primary role is more as a document control center with a low level of control.
- In a controlling role the PMO is more focused on auditing. This ensures portfolios, programs or projects are following recommended methodologies, best practices, standards, processes, etc. The PMO's primary role is to maintain compliance across portfolios, programs or projects with a moderate level of control.
- In a directive role the PMO is more management focused. Involved in the organization's portfolios, programs and projects, the PMO's primary role is identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, and managing with a high level of control.
So before establishing a PMO, it is very important to understand your organizations strategic goals. The following set of questions will help serve as guidelines
What is the mission of the PMO?
Is the mission of the PMO to provide consulting services to projects, programs and portfolios running across an organization and/or to provide standards, processes, templates and also be responsible for auditing on a regular basis while flagging the projects, programs and portfolios that are not meeting their objectives and/or directly manage projects, program and portfolios while forming a governance framework.
What are the roles and responsibilities of the PMO?
A well defined RACI matrix across organization will help determine the tolerance and maturity of organization to adapt to one of the supporting, controlling or directive PMO types.
What would be the KPIs for a PMO?
How the PMO will be measured is important. Determine the type of PMO that needs to be established and set appropriate metrics accordingly.
What would be the 30-60-90 day implementation action plan to establish the PMO?
A step by step action plan of 30-60-90 days will help create short, mid and long-term goals for the PMO and help determine the PMO type as well.
What is the governance model for the PMO?
Managing and controlling the PMO for a longer period will depend on the governance model defined for the PMO. In turn, the governance model will help in understanding the type of PMO needed.
What is the availability of qualified personnel to staff the PMO?
Establishing a PMO is heavily dependent on finding qualified personnel and a key factor to be considered in determining the type of PMO.
Where does the PMO fit in the organizational hierarchy?
Understanding where the PMO will fit in the organizations' hierarchy will help establish innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. This will also help in planning the roll out of PMO in 30-60-90 cycles.
Please share your thoughts on how you would establish PMO in your organization.