Why Do We Need a Project Management Office?

June 29, 2010 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Office

Why Do We Need a Project Management Office?
By Perry Wilson

Most organizations that have a history of project management find themselves all over the success range from Fabulous Success to Spectacular Failure. This variety of outcomes is often the trigger for the executive to start on the PMO path.

In my experience, the reasons to implement a PMO are, in no particular order;

  1. improve and standardize project performance
  2. provide enterprise wide reporting
  3. create a common reporting structure
  4. portfolio management
  5. centre of excellence in project management and related disciplines
  6. a combination of any of the above.
  7. all of the above

Many organizations also cycle between - absolutely need a PMO to why do we need to pay the overhead of a PMO?

I’ve created and collaborated in creating two PMOs and my experience is that a successful PMO starts with the executive backing aligned with the top reasons for creating a PMO.

Just like any project, you need a champion/sponsor, and a clear understanding of what you are going to deliver. You run the creation and implementation as a project. Develop a clear understanding of the outcomes, create phased milestones, measurements of success (both for the project and the operation of the PMO) and report on the status during the initial period.

The key is that implementation is not the end. When the PMO is running and showing success, the whole reason for the PMO needs to be revisited and refocussed. A PMO is not a product that gets delivered, it’s an operational part of any organization and it evolves.

If the first priority is to create a centre of excellence for project managers, you will likely find that the PMO will evolve towards portfolio management because the executive see more possibilities as the PMs become more professional.

If the priority starts as portfolio management, then it will likely evolve towards a centre of excellence very quickly as it becomes clear that more projects can be done if PMs are supported and developed.

Whatever the starting point, if you are managing/directing a PMO, you need to remember it evolves. Keeping your PMO alive is a process of constant selling of the current and possible value of a PMO.

Perry Wilson conducts project management training sessions designed for the non-project manager. If your team needs to build project management skills, contact her at http://www.perryawilsonconsulting.com/.

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