In this video, I will give a broad introduction to what you need to know about a Project Management Office, or PMO.
This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy
There are as many definitions of a PMO as there are PMOs. I like to keep things simple.
A PMO is a group that serves the needs of Project Managers and project teams.
They can do this in a number of ways that we’ll look at in more detail shortly. But which of those ways they select will be different wherever you look. The selection should arise from the needs of the project community within the organization.
The most common activities are:
We equally find Project Management Offices, Program Management Offices, and Portfolio Management Offices. These may genuinely operate at different levels in the organization. However, they may also be different names for largely similar internal organizations.
Projects, Programs, and Portfolios are often contracted into the convenient acronym, P3. This leads to the term P3MO or, indeed, P3O. While I shall use the term PMO and Project Management Office as the generic term throughout this article, I shall sometimes use P3 as a shorthand for Projects, Programs, and Portfolios.
I will stick with the term Project Management Office in this article. Because that is my primary focus.
The focus is on support for project management teams. They offer and standard tools and processes for project delivery. They often have an additional focus on project assurance.
The focus is on support for program management teams. They offer and standard tools and processes for program delivery. They often have an additional focus on governance.
The focus is on forming and overseeing a balanced portfolio of projects and programs and supporting project and program management offices.
For the organization, a good PMO can help ensure projects deliver on time, on budget, and to specification. There are other benefits a PMO can bring:
And, for project teams, a good PMO can provide them with:
The three operational modes are:
Another way that we see different PMO models is the level of the organization at which they operate.
The earliest PMOs were single-project or single-program PMOs. These formed a central office function to serve a single large project or program with administrative support, resource management, communications management, data-gathering, and reporting.
At the next tier, there may be a regional, divisional, functional, or a multi-project PMO, serving projects or programs across a specific portion of an organization. This would centralize a number of additional functions across a range of projects providing some consistency, support, shared resources, and economies of scale.
An Enterprise PMO (EPMO) serves a whole organization. It will often have a Portfolio Management remit, to ensure that projects align with organizational strategy and objectives. They will also have a clear focus on value and will either be led by a C-suite executive or its director will report to one. The EPMO director will have authority to make strategic and tactical decisions across the portfolio.
In setting up a new PMO from scratch, the first decision is likely to be ‘an incremental or a big bang approach?’ An incremental approach is far more likely to provide continuing beneficial returns on investment. In addition, it will be easier for its proponents to garner internal support and counter the inevitable resistance.
This is not a complete checklist, but an indicator of the kind of process you are likely to adapt and follow.
You must keep your PMO’s service portfolio relevant to the needs of its clients and the sponsoring organization. And yes, I do appreciate that there may well be conflicts between these two stakeholder groups!
Here are some essential things to keep under review:
Project Management is a brilliant core competency that is a springboard for a great number of different career paths. And one of those is a PMO career.
At the start of a career, junior PMO roles can be a fabulous place to learn core Project Management skills, and to observe and learn from experienced Project Managers. You can also observe multiple projects with a wide range of challenges at the same time. This can truly multiply your rate of experiential learning.
For experienced Project Managers, used to long and unpredictable hours – and maybe a lot of travel, PMO work can often offer greater stability and predictability. For some people, ad at some stages in life, this will be very welcome.
However, for others, a PMO role can seem dull. What matters is what suits you.
Within the PMO career path, there are many roles. However, I shall focus on five: four of which are taken from the excellent House of PMO publication, ‘The PMO Competency Framework’.
Carefully curated video recommendations for you:
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs
Note that the links are affiliated.
For more great Project Management videos, please subscribe to the OnlinePMCourses YouTube channel.
If you want basic Management Courses – free training hosted on YouTube, with 2 new management lessons a week, check out our sister channel, Management Courses.
For more of our Project Management videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.
For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.
Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
Risk Identification: How to Identify Project Risks | Video
Project Management Presentations: The 3 Expert Elements for a Great One
Superior PMO Guide: All You Need to Know about Project Management Office
Working with a PMO and Building a PMO Career – with Curtis Jenkins
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.