Thursday, July 23, 2009

Starting a PMO

For the past few months, I've been starting a PMO at work.
A PMO is a Project Management Office.

I thought it might make sense to blog about some of the goals, challenges, and plans.

PMO Goals (for our PMO at least):
  • The PMO needs to demonstrate ROI (this is a tough one and honestly one we need to start working on)
  • The PMO must promote and "sell" the value of Project Management to the members of all of the project teams it oversees and upward to management (this includes coaching, development of people to be better Project Managers, and educating people in the PM processes, templates, and tools)
  • The PMO must provide a means of common, standard reporting and common PM processes (templates and tools should also be included)
  • The PMO must collect all the status and roll this up to the mangement/executive it reports to (eventually, this status should be proactive in providing suggested solutions)
  • The PMO must provide PM administrative support to each project
Challenges - The challenges of our PMO and how we are handling them:
  • PMO Resources - there always seems to be more work than resources. We're handling this by tracking every responsibility and request and then constantly re-priortizing. We also are in weekly communication with our executive to discuss our priorities.
  • Balancing Priorities - There are a few high priority activities on our lists. We need to take a time slice for each to at least get each one started (sort of like taking a bite of each item on your plate). Many times we are waiting on others to move ahead, so getting a little progress on each item is a big help toward accomplishing the goal.
  • Finding the answers - Especially with the compliance items we're working on, it's difficult to find the person who has the answer to the questions we need to resolve. For Example: we might be looking for the person who has responsibility for all of the desktop software licenses. In our big organization, it takes a while to track that down. We're working to solve this by asking people who have tracked down this information in the past.
  • Scope Increase - The two "biggest baddest" words in project management! Yes, it happens in a PMO too. People are constantly trying to put a bunch of "monkeys on our backs" by trying to delegate more work to us. We handle this by keeping our roles and responsibilities clear. Actually, just writing this helps me to realize that we should document our Roles and Responsiblities. Maybe I should review my recent presentation on on the subject of "RACI Roles and Responsibilities" and apply it.
Plans: - The plans of our PMO
  • Common and standard reporting templates and Metrics: We're working on a standard reporting spreadsheet that records all the basic data we need from each Project/Program to insure that the metrics we're reporting are supported by hard data. This is a very high priority at this time because we just started work on a new project that can be used to create all the reporting and then we can roll it out to other projects.
  • We're concentrating on Compliance. This is compliance with all rules, regulations, business operation guidelines, controls, and any other directives that would be required to pass an audit. This also includes contract compliance. This is one of our main measurements at this point that would be rolled up above our sponsor, and so we need to be working on this.
  • Some lower priority elements of our plan:
  • Process Improvement: We hope to promote and participate in process improvement to improve project efficiency.
  • Quality: Later we hope to add some spot checks to give feedback and improve on the PM artifacts
  • Coaching: We are constantly involved in coaching people, giving feedback, and promoting the PM processes
  • Education: We have already begun doing some Lunch and Learns to help people discuss the PM processes and improve on them
These are just a few quick thoughts I've had this morning (since I wasn't able to sleep). I'm sure that I probably missed a few "200 pound Gorillas" that I will remember in a few minutes. Hopefully I'll be able to blog more on this in the future.

I'd like to hear your comments.

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