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The Role of a Project Management Templates Office

October 29 2009

The Role of a Project Management Templates Office

Have you ever worked in an organization that has loads of projects and no central department responsible for controlling them all?

This is exactly the kind of problem that a Project Office can address. A Project Office is created to make sure that your organization has a neatly defined set of projects that are aligned with your corporate strategy and are all coordinated in a neat and logical fashion to help them deliver on time and under budget.

The Role of a Project Office

To learn more about what a Project Office does, read this newsletter…

1. What is a Project Office?

A Project Office is a department responsible for improving project management within an organization. It’s a permanent department within an organization, not a temporary function. It’s there to coordinate projects and ensure they have the right tools, standards, methodologies and templates needed to boost their chances of success.

2. Are there different types?

There are 3 types of Project Offices that use project management templates:

– The Supportive Project Office. This is the most common type of Project Office. Its purpose is to empower Project Managers and teams to deliver projects. It doesn’t control or direct projects. Instead it supports projects by offering training, mentoring, administration and reporting.

– The Controlling Project Office. Supportive services may not be enough to put projects back on track. By offering controlling services (such as project reviews, audits and assessments), the Project Office can influence project delivery. It may also enforce project standards and processes to minimize project risk.

– The Directive Project Office. The least common, but sometimes most effective type of Project Office, is one that directs projects. Here, the Project Managers report to the Project Office, which is directly responsible for the success of each project. This helps to group the project work within an organization to being under one department—the Project Office.

3. Which type is suitable?

Read these tips to decide which type of Project Office is best for you:

√ If you’re implementing a Project Office for the first time, then the “Supportive” model is best. It helps you add value to projects by offering reporting, training and monitoring services, without taking on the responsibility for the projects themselves.

√ If you have an established Project Office and you want to ensure that projects are independently assessed, then the “Controlling” model is best.  You can directly influence the success of projects, as well as implement best practices, standards and tools.

√ If your organization has a small set of high risk projects at any one time, then usually the “Directive” model is best.

4. What are the responsibilities?

The Project Office is responsible for:

– Resolving common project problems;

– Implementing the right project management template tools

– Monitoring and reporting on status; and

– Improving project success rates.

5.  How do you set one up?

Take these 4 steps:

Project Office Initiation: Define the role of the Project Office, obtain clear sponsorship and document the Project Office Charter. Seek funding and appoint a Steering Committee to oversee the operation. Appoint staff, obtain a premise and install the office furniture, computer equipment and communications. Whew!

Project Office Planning: Then select the project management software you need to run it. Procure and implement the tools in your Organization. Then create a detailed plan outlining the Project Office services you’re going to perform (such as project reporting and auditing).

Project Office Execution: You’re now ready to offer your supportive, controlling or directive services to project teams. This will include offering training, mentoring and support. It may also include reviews and assessments or the management of special projects directly.

Project Office Improvement: As it’s an on-going operation, you need to constantly improve the level of service offered by your Project Office.

It’s a lot of work, but if you take these steps to set up your Project Office then you will deliver more projects on time and under budget.

For the complete Project Management Templates and PMO toolkit visit