The Project Management Office (PMO) is a strategic tool in the hands of an organisation’s management to ensure that all the projects in the business are under control.
The PMO gives a centralised view of project costs, resources, and risks, and is the centre of project implementation where it is ensured that the portfolio is well-managed and delivering benefits to the organisation.
Organizations who perform multiple projects regularly struggle to prioritise needs, balance resources, standardise project delivery methods, and most crucially, consistently achieve project success. This is because they often don’t have a bird’s eye view of all the projects, and are usually uncertain of human resource capabilities and capacity, as well as individual project progress or lack thereof. In short, project efforts are poorly synchronised, which, combined with disorganised project support, results in less than optimal project delivery.
A well-functioning PMO is an ideal solution to this dilemma. It provides a centralised view that enables the effective planning and coordination of resources. It facilitates consistency throughout projects, thereby increasing the likelihood of repeatable project success. It ensures that all projects are initiated, planned, executed, controlled and closed in a regular manner, following consistent methods.
No two organisations have exactly the same needs when it comes to project management, and these differences should be reflected in the way the PMO is implemented. To assist organisations, ProjectLink developed the Project Office Implementation Toolkit (POINT) Methodology. POINT was developed from experiences in setting up and operating a number of PMOs in diverse industries. POINT covers all the aspects of the PMO and is a fail-safe way of ensuring strategic alignment of projects with the organisation’s strategy.
POINT starts by assessing, in consultation with the client, what the client’s current situation is. An analysis phase is performed, the depth and span of which depends on the client’s requirements and constraints. Aspects that are typically considered are, for example; the current processes being used, the level of project management maturity that prevails, the way the organization is structured, etc.
The outputs from the analysis phase are inputs to the design phase, during which the solution is designed. This usually includes considerations such as human capital, process design, technology design, etc.; again driven by the client’s needs.
The implementation phase follows the design phase. The specific functions to be implemented may vary and are often done in a phased approach, but typically include matters such as establishing a consistent project management method, supported by policies and procedures; providing project management training; laying out a competency development program; physically setting up the PMO, along with the chosen technology; etc.