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Set up the Project Office Project Management Template

March 24 2008

Set up the Project Office with a Project Management Template

The Project Office is the physical premise where Project Administration staff (e.g. the Project Manager and support staff) reside. The Project Office also contains the communications infrastructure and information technologies required to support the project.

Every project team relies on the tools, guidance and processes provided by the Project Office to undertake its project tasks quickly and easily. So setting up and running an efficient Project Office environment is critical to the success of the project. The Project Manager also depends on the Project Office team to provide the information required in the project management template to monitor and control the project effectively.

Project Offices can come with many different names: Project Management Office, Project Support Office, Program Office, Program Support Office, Program Management Office, Strategic Project Office, Strategic Program Office, and more. Large organizations, which run multiple projects simultaneously, often even have a permanent Project Office function within the business. Regardless of the name, organization and number of projects undertaken, the core responsibilities of the Project Office environment (as described below) are usually the same.

So what exactly is contained in a Project Office? The Project Office contains all the administrative staff (usually including the Project Manager, Project Office Manager, Quality Manager and Procurement Manager) as well as the tools, office equipment, communications equipment, documentation of project processes (project management template) and standards required to support the project throughout its lifecycle.

While it’s common for the entire project team to be based in a single Project Office environment, in this modern age, project teams are often dispersed throughout the world. In this case, a “virtual” Project Office is formed, which relies heavily on technologies such as email, web access, remote dial-up software, mobile phones, laptops and hand-held devices to facilitate communication among members of the project teams. The following steps define the procedures involved in setting up a Project Office from scratch.

Define the Role of the Project Office

The first step taken when creating a new Project Office environment (whether it’s a physical or virtual environment) is to define the role of the Project Office function. You need to identify the purpose of the Project Office, the reasons why it must be established, the support services offered to project staff and the timeframes for establishing it. Most importantly, you need to define the responsibilities of the Project Office in detail. To help you to do this quickly and efficiently, we have listed the typical responsibilities of a Project Office environment below:

  • Time Management Monitoring the project progress by identifying time and effort spent vs. budgeted
  • Keeping the Project Plan up-to-date and identifying any delivery date slippage
  • Keeping the Timesheet Register up-to-date at all times
  • Cost Management
  • Monitoring the project progress by identifying the budget spent vs. forecast
  • Keeping the Project Plan up-to-date and identifying any overspending
  • Keeping the Expense Register up-to-date at all times
  • Quality Management
  • Performing Quality Assurance to improve the chances of delivering quality
  • Ensuring that Quality Control is implemented to measure the actual level of quality
  • Keeping the Quality Register up-to-date at all times
  • Change Management
  • Receiving Change Requests and managing the change approval process
  • Scheduling Change Requests and measuring the impact of changes implemented
  • Keeping the Change Register up-to-date at all times
  • Risk Management
  • Receiving Risk Forms and managing the risk review process
  • Scheduling actions to mitigate risks and measuring the impact of such actions
  • Keeping the Risk Register up-to-date at all times
  • Get the maximum results of your project delivery by using these project management templates.