Project Management Office (PMO)

Project Management Office (PMO)


Project / Program Management Office (PMO) Setup and Development

PROGRESS CONSULT helps organizations to setup and develop project management office (PMO) to centralize and coordinate the management of projects under its domain. The PMO focuses on the coordinated planning, prioritization and execution of projects and subprojects that are tied to the parent organization’s or client’s overall business objectives

PROGRESS CONSULT consultants can help in providing project management support functions in the form of identification and development of project management methodology, best practices, standards, templates, and other shared documentation; setup and configuration of a centralized repository and management for both shared and unique risks for all project information; selecting and implementation of the appropriate project and portfolio management tools (see item 1 above). Extended PMO scope or additional services such as support in the first phases of the operation are also offered by PROGRESS CONSULT.

Traditional Project Management Office

The recommended PMO development roadmap consists of three primary phases: Plan, Implement, and Manage. Each phase is broken down into several sequential steps. This document walks through each step individually and elaborates on the various concepts and recommendations presented.






Plan Phase
The Plan phase is organized around asking and answering “why, what, how, who, and when” questions. The answers to these questions form the core information that flows into the PMO charter. The initial Plan phase should not be exited until you complete the PMO charter and confirm buy-in from key stakeholders and customers identified in the planning process.

Implement Phase

Define Key Roles/Job Descriptions
The first step in the implementation phase is to execute the hiring plan. With the high-level team structure defined, it is now time to refine key role definitions and job descriptions and begin the recruiting process. Example role and job description summaries include
• PMO director. Sets a strategic direction; defines, manages to, and reports KPIs; creates and maintains tool, template, best practice, and methodology documentation
• PM manager/support. Manages the PM resources and provides PM coaching and mentoring; may serve as a PM resource for strategic projects; tracks organizationwide resource capacity and utilization, recommending optimal allocation
• Training/professional development manager. Assesses organizational and individual competence levels and skills to determine needs; designs and delivers a curriculum/service offering and certification program
• PMO analyst. Maintains a PMO dashboard and reports; assists project teams with reporting and tracking; provides systems support and administration (such as a project inventory database, a knowledge repository, and a collaboration platform)

Manage Phase
Conduct Project Reviews
Conduct periodic project and program reviews.

When focusing on projects, look for

• Consistent project planning, delivery, and reporting
• Project focus on scope and objectives
• Task assignment and reporting process and results
• Issues and changes
• Project communication effectiveness

When focusing on programs, look for

• Master schedule and roll-up of issues/costs
• Project dependencies’ being met and reported

When focusing on both, assess team skills and offer training as needed.



Business-driven PMOs

What Is a Business-Driven Project Management Office?
A business-driven PMO enables business change with a business-stakeholder, value-oriented mindset supported by
• Business leadership such as executive-level or line-of-business management or business-driven CIOs
• Business strategic objectives, goals, and initiatives, including an understanding of associated risks
• Business value delivery metrics and scorecards such as ROI, time to market, time to value, and customer satisfaction


Figure 1. A business-driven PMO is supported by business leadership, business strategy, and business metrics.

 Thus, at the highest level, PMOs are about enabling change by using projects, programs, and portfolio management and execution as the vehicles for change. Business-driven PMOs are about enabling strategic or even transformational change. The key to success is having a business-driven approach or mindset as well as the perception of being on the outside looking in.

This contrasts with the traditional PMO mindset of an inside-out organization focused on tactical outcomes such as improved project and portfolio management practices. Traditional PMOs are sometimes referred to as theory-driven and are frequently viewed as being overly administrative and bureaucratic or—even worse—the compliance police.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with traditional PMOs, provided that
• Your organization’s major PPM-related issue is either project and task execution (time, budget, scope) or incremental/continuous improvement of existing PPM processes
• Your business environment is relatively stable or changes slowly
• There is no significant opportunity to provide a leadership role in business change or transformation

However, the traditional PMO model is broken for most organizations, due to the speed of business change, which drives successful PMOs to provide new capabilities, exhibit new strengths, and address new requirements, such as

  • Strategy execution and alignment agility
  • Institutionalization of innovation
  • Systems thinking with respect to programs, portfolios, and initiatives
  • Business intelligence and analytics—not just reporting
  • Ability to enable a cultural shift
  • A key implication of accelerating business climate change is the need to retool PPM processes for smaller, shorter-duration projects. This is necessary to increase success rates and ensure project outcome relevance. Longer project lifecycles increase the risk of failure and the chance that the desired benefits will no longer be important by the time the project is completed and its outcomes are operationalized.

The six critical success factors for business-driven PMOs are
• Business power base alignment
• Business strategy alignment
• Business metrics alignment
• Customer (project managers and teams) alignment
• Business culture alignment
• Business maturity-level alignment


Note that the role of tools will need to evolve in business-driven PMOs from a focus on reporting “what happened” to “what’s happening now” and ultimately to “what’s going to happen.” PMOs could get away with managing based on what happened (that is, by using only their rearview mirror) when the road ahead is relatively straight and predictable. However, for most organizations, this is becoming more challenging, due to the speed of business change. The unpredictability of the road ahead will require real-time business intelligence instruments to understand what is happening right now as well as analytics to better plan for future scenarios.




Figure 4. Tools will need to evolve in business-driven PMOs from a focus on reporting on “what happened” to “what’s happening” and ultimately to “what will happen.”

Share this post