A Blueprint for Building a Successful PMO

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Setting up PMO

As organizations begin to recognize that project-based work is everywhere, the discipline of project management has evolved, and along with it, the role of the project management office (PMO) has grown.

Once a company understands the importance of establishing a PMO within its corporate structure, its next step is to find the resources and information to actually set it up.

If you’ve been asked to set up a PMO, where do you begin? By following an established blueprint for building a successful PMO, organizations can more easily accelerate their journey to PMO success.

Why Build a PMO?

Let’s start with the basics. What are the functions and responsibilities of a PMO? Only by defining this can we make a business case for creating one. In short, a PMO provides leadership, governance, technical expertise, management, and control of projects and teams. It ensures that projects’ scope and allocation of resources are aligned with the overall business strategy and goals. PMOs define and maintain standardization in the execution of projects.

Make the Business Case

As with any project, setting up a PMO requires a business plan. This should define your organization’s current state, its desired future state, and what success looks like. Among the questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Why is project management needed now?
  • What are the risks and benefits of launching or expanding the PMO?
  • What are the current and near-future projects envisioned as top priorities?
  • The business case should define PMO success based on initial and ongoing metrics. It should outline milestones, future targets, and expected outcomes for a specific time period – be it 6 months, one year, or three years.

Build the Team and Communicate the Plan

Project teams should be enthusiastic and committed to the overall business goals. They should also represent a diversity of talent, experience, and viewpoints from different areas of the organization. Further, those in charge of setting up a PMO should plan and budget for ongoing employee skills training to keep up with the ever-changing complex business environment.

While establishing a PMO is an exciting endeavor, it may still be perceived as a significant organizational change. As such, some people may feel threatened or confused by what it means for them, just as others will be enthusiastic and passionate about it. In order to exercise effective change management, it’s critical that the business case, as well as milestones, progress, or even setbacks – are communicated at regular intervals to the whole organization. Keeping an open line of communication will not only drive employee engagement and trust, but it will also garner support and appreciation for the PMO, which will help drive its success.

Building a PMO is a large and ambitious endeavor, but proper preparation and following a sound blueprint on your journey can pay off in the long run.

TwentyEighty Strategy Execution is a global leader in project-focused training, enabling people to close the strategy execution gap and drive higher performance by strengthening relational and technical skills. By combining the best of cutting-edge university research and proven business techniques, we deliver training designed to increase alignment and engagement across teams, business units, or the entire enterprise. Learn more today at strategyex.com. Join the conversation on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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