Markus Frilund
Sep 29, 2010
Posted in category: 2010 Member Articles

Getting started with the PMO

Types of PMO:s
The Project Management Office (PMO) can be seen as a shared service providing tools, templates and best practices to the project management. The role of the PMO in your organization varies, mostly depending on the level of maturity. The roles can be described as supportive, controlling and directive.

The PMO can be a Supportive PMO that offers help and solutions on demand without requiring anything in return from the project.

The Controlling PMO has the authority to demand things from the projects. It can be used to for example implement project methodologies or processes around reporting etc.

The Directive PMO actually owns resources which can take over and run projects.

Some project management office’s evolve into Program Management Offices. A program management office coordinates related sub-projects within the same program. This includes both  IT and business development project teams and the objective is to align the two. In practice the program management office has to be controlling, at least on some level. If and when the project management office reaches the stage of being a directive program management office it might be moved out from under the CIO and start reporting directly to the CFO or other senior executive.

3 secrets behind successful PMO:s:

  1. In the beginning, focus on being supportive rather than controlling.
    If you start to take control of the projects or demand things too early the PM:s will get scared of you and they will run and hide. Get to know the project managers and listen to their requirements. Focus solely on providing solutions to urgent needs for a while.  This also gives you an opportunity to map the organization’s already existing expertise, tools and information.
  2. Let the PMO evolve
    Follow the roadmap Supportive -> Controlling -> Directive -> Program Officeand continuously evaluate the capabilities of the PMO vs. business needs.
  3. Market the PMO
    The PMO sells services that have to be bought. There are at least two things that need to be well defined and communicated to all stakeholders at all time. Make sure that the management also signs the message and demand a good space on the intranet.

    1. Responsibility: What is the (current) role and authority of the PMO in the organization and individual projects?
    2. Value: How can the individual benefit from the PMO? Why should for example the project manager or CIO care?


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