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PMO Project Management Templates

May 7 2007

Managing your Project Management Office using Project Management Templates

Have you ever worked in an organization that has too many projects, which are all managed differently and all have mixed levels of success?

This is exactly the kind of problem that a Project Management Office, or “PMO” is set up to address. A PMO is created to make sure that your organization has a neatly defined set of projects that are aligned with your corporate strategy and are delivered on time and under budget.

Defining the Role of a PMO

To help you learn more about what a PMO does, we’ve answered 5 popular PMO questions. By reading these answers, you’ll learn more about what makes a PMO tick and why it’s good to have one around.

1. What exactly is a PMO?

A PMO is a department responsible for improving project management within an organization. It’s important to note that a PMO is a permanent department within an organization, it’s not a temporary function or an outsourced activity. It’s there to constantly improve an organizations level of project management success. It does this by making sure that the organization implements the right projects, using the right processes and the right tools needed to succeed. You can always use Project Management Templates to manage your PMO.

2. What types of PMOs exist?

There are 3 types of PMOs that may exist in an organization:

Supportive PMO. This is the most common type of PMO. Its purpose is to empower project managers and teams to deliver their projects more successfully. It doesn’t control or direct projects, instead it focuses on supporting projects through training, mentoring, administration and reporting.

Controlling PMO. Supportive services may not be enough to put projects back on track. By offering controlling services (such as project reviews, audits, assessments and governance), the PMO can influence project delivery. It can also enforce standards, implement processes and manage overall project risk.

Directive PMO. The least common, but sometimes most effective type of PMO, is one that offers directive services. In this case, the PMO does not just support and control projects, but it’s responsible for actually running them. In a Directive PMO, each of the Project Managers report to the PMO Director as their supervisor. This helps to “corral” all of the project work within an organization, to one department.

3. Which type of PMO is suitable?

If you want to implement or improve your PMO, then these tips will help you to decide which model is best suited to your organization:

  • If you’re implementing a PMO from scratch, then a Supportive PMO it best. It helps you add value by providing reporting, training and monitoring services, without taking on the responsibility for controlling and directing projects.
  • If you have an established PMO and you want to ensure that projects are independently assessed, then a Controlling PMO is best.  You can directly influence the success of projects, as well as implement best practices, standards and project management tools.
  • If your organization has a small set of high risk projects at any one time, then often, a Directive PMO is best. While you’ll directly be responsible for the outcome of each project, you can combine all of your organizational resource into making a small set of targeted project activities successful.

4. What are the PMO’s responsibilities?

Regardless of the type of PMO you employ, it will be responsible for:

  • identifying and resolving common problems across projects
  • standardizing project management processes and tools
  • improving project management capabilities and skills
  • monitoring and reporting on project status
  • reducing the cost of projects
  • improving project success.

5.  How do you set up and implement a PMO?

To set up and run an efficient PMO operation, you need to progress through 4 phases:

PMO Initiation: Within this phase, the role of the PMO is defined, sponsorship is obtained and a PMO Charter is created. Funding is sought and a Steering Committee is appointed to oversee the operation. Staff are appointed to each PMO role, a premise is obtained and the team are relocated, along with the necessary communications infrastructure. Whew!

PMO Planning: By now, you’ve got the sponsorship, staff and funding you need. The next step is to create a PMO Execution Plan, which describes how you are going to offer all of the required services. You will then want to select which online project management or project management templates you need to succeed.

PMO Execution: With capable staff and a solid execution plan, you’re ready to offer supporting, controlling and / 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 projects themselves.

PMO Improvement: A PMO is an on-going operation, so you’ll need to continually improve your level of service. You can do this by reviewing the effectiveness of your department and the success of projects within your organization. Service improvements need to be continually implemented, to enable the level of project management within your organization to mature.

It’s a lot of work – but organizations with a successful PMO find that they can deliver more projects on time and under budget. It may not be for everyone, but if your organization has mixed project management success, then a PMO Project Management Templates may be exactly what’s needed to get back on track.