When a company runs several projects simultaneously, it is common for them to become disorganized and, often, conflicting with each other. In this sense, the implementation of a PMO can help to increase the organization and quality of projects. If you are not already familiar with the subject, keep reading the post, as we will teach you what PMO is and how to implement a project office in your company.
What is PMO?
PMO (Project Management Office) is an acronym in English for “project office”, and consists of an organizational structure that acts in the centralization, assistance and control of a company’s projects. A PMO must offer the necessary tools to carry out the projects, control the resources allocated to them and ensure that the project management methodology adopted by the company is used appropriately by everyone.
Many confuse the PMO with the figure of the Project Manager, but these are different things. The project office is above the project manager, as the manager is responsible for one or more specific projects, while the office is responsible for all projects in the company or for a specific area.
The project office should also serve as a mechanism for controlling and reconciling an organization’s projects, being able to determine the financial transfers for each project according to the general budget, and prioritize those that are most important to the business.
In addition, a PMO can make recommendations, reviews and project documentation, but it all depends on the type of PMO we are talking about. Understand what they are:
According to the sixth edition of the PMBOK® Guide, there are three types of PMO, namely:
The support PMO is a project office that has a consultative profile , that is, it acts in order to help project managers through recommendations , pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of the actions and suggesting alternative methods, when necessary. It must provide support with expertise, templates, training, etc.
This type of PMO is also responsible for project documentation, using experience with previous projects as a basis so that the same mistakes are not made and that good practices and strategies are repeated.
However, the support PMO does not represent a great deal of control over the projects as a whole, allowing for some autonomy. Therefore, it is the most recommended for companies where projects are already well executed and do not need greater control.
The control PMO, in addition to offering support and expertise, also assesses the compliance of the actions of project managers . Therefore, he is responsible for actions such as process audits , to identify, if any, parts of the process that are not being followed. Audits, in addition to identifying errors, also serve to review processes and improve them, if this need is identified.
It is usually more useful in companies where the need to discipline procedures has been identified , requiring the adoption of specific methodologies, compliance with IT governance, and the sanction of several rules.
With these actions, the control PMO seeks to ensure the standardization of processes and the uniformity of projects.
The directive PMO is, among the three types, the one with the highest degree of control over the projects. It is the responsibility of the managing PMO to control the financial resources that will be allocated to each project, to define who will be the managers of each one of them, and to ensure that the processes are properly followed.
The management PMO represents a center of excellence in project management and, in addition to offering recommendations, training and financial control, it also conducts project audits, as does the control PMO.
In addition to this form of classification, it is common to divide these PMOs into three other types:
- Autonomous (operational): responsible only for a specific project or program.
- Departmental (tactical): responsible for the projects of only one department, area, or business unit of the organization.
- Strategic (corporate): covers all the organization’s projects and acts in the management of the portfolio, prioritizing and indicating the projects for the organization’s top management. This PMO can even establish the abandonment of certain projects, if that is the best thing to do for the company as a whole.
How to implement the right PMO for your business
1- Define your goals
It is imperative that you have a clear vision of what your goals are with a project office.
For example: if you want to offer assistance and recommendations to project managers, the best option is an advisory PMO. Now, if your desire is to create an entity that has a control character, that can manage financial transfers to the projects and determine the managers of each of them, the ideal is to implement a directive PMO.
2- Observe the organization’s maturity
With maturity of the organization, we refer to a company that has projects with standardized, clear and well-defined processes being carried out by trained and well-trained people. This scenario favors the implementation of a strategic PMO, which covers the entire company.
If an organization does not have this level of maturity, it is difficult to implement a strategic project office, as it would need to control all projects in the organization and these would be very diverse and with poorly defined processes. In this case, an autonomous or departmental PMO may prove to be more efficient, as it would devote all attention to specific projects.
3- Plan the project office
After establishing the type of PMO that will be used, it is time to devise a structure for the project office, deciding things like: what will be the methodology used? What services will be offered by the PMO? Which performance indicators will be taken into account?
To implement a project office correctly, it needs to be very well planned, and all details must be taken into account
4- Implement the PMO
After all the planning steps, it’s time to put this into practice and implement a PMO in your company. So that this implementation is not too abrupt, it is valid to create, at the beginning, a pilot project of smaller scope within the company, and then gradually increase it.
In addition, if your company does not have a lot of experience with project management, it may be interesting to hire a consulting firm specialized in project management to help you in this regard. This is especially useful when working with highly complex and critical projects, where mistakes cannot be made, or when the processes are not performing well.