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If your organization does not have a PMO or has one that has been disappointing in its benefits, then this discussion may be for you!

I have an opinion that there are “Five ‘P’s in PMO”: Project, Program, Portfolio, Process, and People.  Others don’t necessarily agree with me but then they are not writing THIS article, are they!?!

In order to get a successful PMO started, an organization needs to conduct the initiation effort like a project:

  • Investigate and understand the differences between the three basic PMO types that are typically used in organizations: Project, Program, and Portfolio
  • Recognize that most initial PMO efforts will have to address these three levels of PMO in some small way so that whichever one is MOST important to you can be properly supported
  • Develop a Charter and a Budget based on your initial expectations for your PMO
  • Establish a Schedule for preparing new Standards, Techniques, Measurements, and Metrics that you can envision as your starting Guidelines for each of the PMO types
  • Manage your own expectations so that all contributors realize that you should expect to create ONE new standard and associated materials to be implemented at a time and monitor its effectiveness before you proceed with any subsequent PMO standard.  This, after all, is your latest (or FIRST) time in trying to implement a potentially complex management structure within your organization which hasn’t seen the need for one for some time!

Let’s say that your management agrees that it would like to start simple with a Project Management Office to set Execution standards for the performance of each project undertaken within either the entire organization or just the Information Technology department or function in your company.

Why, then, have I said that you should expect to have some portions of Program and Portfolio Management Offices included in your first planned implementation?

A Portfolio Management Office is created in organizations to collect, prioritize, and select requested expenditures as projects based on their relevance to the organizations Strategic plans and Tactical needs.  If your organization does not have a back log of requested project expenditures, then maybe you don’t actually need this structure.  However, I doubt that many companies have no backlog and those that say they don’t may just not be looking in the right places to find these requests.

At least, create an official company spreadsheet of the unapproved requested project expenditures so that you can review the list and determine if there are one or two that are higher priority than the rest of the list based on your hoped for corporate directions.

A Program Management Office is created to oversee the execution of a series of projects that are co-dependent with each other and are supportive of a larger organization goal where each project may have deliverables that other dependent projects are waiting for at some point during their execution.  The standards that would be prepared in a Program Management Office will monitor these interdependencies and give opportunity for the various Project Leaders and their Managing Sponsors to know the status of the co-dependent materials.

So, creating a list of Projects that are related to a larger scale business need AND identifying the dependencies that each of these projects have on others that are or will be executed, will allow you and your management to be aware of these interdependencies so that when something goes wrong with one project and its results are needed by some other project, you can make better decisions about how to respond.