Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Which Type of a PMO?

Sometimes its frustrating when most people wont understand the scope of the PMO of their organization and its authorities and limitations. having a PMO in your company doesn’t mean that each and every problem of your organization should be routed to your PMO. .. Its very important to have a clear understanding of your organizations PMO. What type of a PMO you have?. Their objectives, responsibilities and authorities.

Analyze and See what type of a PMO you have.

Categorization based on Competency; ( Based on the PMO categorization Article by John Alley, University of Technology Services.)

  • project office
  • basic PMO
  • standard PMO
  • advanced PMO
  • centre of excellence

you can see what type of service your PMO does, or willing to do /Suppose to do. Based on that, the PMO budgets, the seniority levels of resources, responsibilities, authorities and everything changes.

The difference between a Project Office and Project Management office is that, the Project office delivers Projects within approved budgets and required quality. But Project Management office always look for consistency, and improvements of methodologies, Frameworks you practice, consistent templates, etc.

A Standard PMO establishes capability and support infrastructure while advanced PMO applies the PM capabilities to achieve business objectives. So you need a very senior level manager in your organization as the head of PMO in such level.

There is a Top category called Center of Excellence., If you have a Project Management office in this nature, they will be defining and aligning business goals with your project goals., make strategic moves with regard to your projects and business.

As I mentioned in one of my previous PMO related posts, you may not be able to setup a center for excellence at once in your organization. You may start with Project office and then improve on that based on the opportunities you have.

Recently I had a chat with a CEO of a SL IT company who had the idea that setting up a PMO is just wasting company resources. But when I asked him why he has very high PM turnover, I found out one reason., PMs do everything for everybody, But there is nobody who can listen to PMs , mentor them., get them on one specific goal., keep them focused. so I told him that he needs some sort of Central management of his Projects.

PMO is not such a magical thing., By knowing or not knowing, we have been practicing PMO concepts in our organizations. I can think back to see what I have been doing 2, 3 years before when I was a Software Development Manager. Though the designation is different, I was responsible for all the projects running in that organization. I had PMs reporting to me., Most of the time I had to give some guidance to them. There was a good central control of the Projects. So now I know I have been performing a virtual PMO as the Software Development Manager. But I didn’t know about it. So nobody needs to be sacred of the word PMO.. Its not an extra overhead to the company if you implement it right with right objectives and right plan.

Then the next question he asked me was that, they use Agile methods such as extreme Project Management and it might clash with PMO setup? My answer is NO., Because your PMs can use agile methods (infact I have fallen in love with them :))., But you should maintain some consistent between your project management tasks., If I take an example from an offshore software company like ours., there are different types of Projects, some customers insist on Prince2, Some project managers need to practice Agile methods due to the nature of projects ( if they have direct interactions with customers - very rarely though)., some are well defined just for the PMBOK way of management. This is very complicated and its challenging. But no matter which methodology we practice, we need a core, to understand the project issues, management issues, mentor PMs , assign them for right project so on. You can generalize your PMO templates to match all the types of PM methodologies you practice., Though you have daily standup meetings or you have once a week formal project reviews, you need status reports. You need to document important decisions. So try to generalize the templates as much as possible but its always understood that some PMs carry different stuff as user stories reports and so on based on the methodologies they practice.


Shashank Ranadive, PMP on 6:00 AM said...

Thank you Thushara for blogging this one. I recently used this information it in my pitch and approach to PMO.

Your blog is one of those with lots of good stuff and I have mentioned you in blog I just recently started at http://pmbits.blogspot.com

Cooldude on 9:03 PM said...

Thanks this was excellent, I was looking for some diffrentiation between Practise head and PMO head, what would be the difference in the functions ?
anand Godse


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