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"The TenStep Project Management
Process provides the information you need to be a
successful project manager, including a step-by-step approach, starting with the basics and getting as
sophisticated as you need for your particular project."
Source : TenStep
Learn How to Set Up and Run a Project Management Office
Project Management Office (PMO) also known as :
Project management office Resources,
Implement Project Management Office,
Support Project Management Office,
Install Project Management Office,
Arrange Project Management Office,
Project Management Tools,
Project Mgmt Tips,
Build Best-Practice PMO,
Closure Program PMO,
Many companies are
finding that they must build project management capability if they are
going to meet the business challenges in the future. The also understand
that project management processes should be implemented consistently
across the organization. This leads to efficiency and help deliver
projects even better, faster and cheaper. Given the need for consistent
project management, the next question is how best to implement this common
project management environment.
Many companies give this responsibility
to one or more people in a Project Management Office (PMO). There are many
structures for a PMO and many types of services that the PMO can offer.
Each organization must first determine the services that are important to
them and then create an overall approach to implementing. Since this is a
culture change initiative, the effort can be time-consuming and difficult.
However, the rewards are also large. If the PMO is established with a
clear vision, strong sponsorship and a solid approach, it can be a vehicle
for creating a tremendous amount of value for the company.
around the world are implementing formal project management processes and
discipline to deliver their work initiatives on time, within budget and to
an agreed upon level of quality. Part of the ability to execute better,
faster and cheaper comes from the organization's ability to implement
common processes and practices across their entire organization. That way
there is very little learning curve for the project manager and the team
members as they transition from one project to another.
If you only
have a couple projects going on at any one time, you may be able to gain
the advantage of organizational standards by providing consistent training
and having the handful of project managers follow similar processes.
However, the larger your organization gets, and the more projects that are
executed at one time, the more difficult it becomes to enforce this
organizational consistency, and without this consistency the full value of
implementing a common project management methodology is not reached.
Many companies have attempted to solve this problem through centralized
organizations that are responsible for varying aspects of project
management methodologies. Organizations call this group names such as
Project Office, Enterprise Project Office, Project Management Center of
Excellence and the Project Management Resource Team. Here, we will use the
term Project Management Office (PMO). In some companies, the PMO
organization contains only one person. In other organizations, the PMO
team could be quite large.
YR2K Projects Brought PMOs to the Mainstream
Although the concept of the Project Management Office has been around for
many years, for many organizations the awareness level was raised because
of YR2K problems. Many companies, especially larger ones, realized that
they needed a concerted and coordinated effort to ensure that their
systems could withstand the YR2K cutover. The basic infrastructure of a
PMO was implemented, although with a single-minded focus to coordinate the
projects for the YR2K fixes. After YR2K passed, many companies disbanded
the infrastructure, while others realized the long-term value in continuing to coordinate aspects of
project management centrally.
There are many potential products and
services that a PMO can offer, depending on the needs of the organization
and the vision of the PMO sponsor. Before the PMO can be successful, they
must gain agreement from the management team on their overall role and the
general expectations they need to achieve. A typical PMO is responsible
for deploying a consistent project management methodology within the
organization, including processes, templates and best practices. This is
not a one-time event, but a broad initiative that could cover a number of
years. Some organizations set up a PMO to do much less than that. Some
PMO's try to achieve much more
A PMO costs money and time to run. The
hope is that the investment in the PMO will be more than saved by
implementing common processes and practices that allow every project
within the organization to be completed better, faster and cheaper
PMO Value Proposition
The value provided by a PMO is summarized below.
Although PMOs can be established to provide a narrow or broad set of
services, this list includes many of the common responsibilities a full
PMO would perform. In general, a PMO
- Establishes and deploys a common
set of project management processes and templates, which saves each
project manager, or each organization, from having to create these on
their own. These reusable project management components help projects
start-up more quickly and with much less effort.
- Builds the
methodology and updates it as needed to account for improvements and best
practices. For instance, as new or revised processes and templates are
made available, the PMO deploys them consistently to the organization.
- Facilitates improved project team communications by having common
processes, deliverables, and terminology. There is less misunderstanding
and confusion within the organization if everyone uses the same language
and terminology for project related work.
- Provides training (internal
or outsourced) to build core project management competencies and a
common set of experiences. If the training is delivered by the PMO, there
is a further reduction in overall training costs paid to outside vendors.
- Delivers project management coaching services to keep projects from
getting into trouble. Projects at risk can also be coached to ensure that
they do not get any worse.
- Tracks basic information on the current
status of all projects in the organization, and provides project
visibility to management in a common and consistent manner.
organization-wide metrics on the state of project management, project
delivery and the value being provided to the business. The PMO also
assesses the general project delivery environment on an ongoing basis
to determine the improvements that have been made over time.
- Acts as the
overall advocate for project management to the organization. This includes
proactively educating and selling managers and team members on the
value gained through the use of consistent project management processes.
You Must Build a PMO that Makes the Most Sense to your Organization
There are almost as many varieties of PMO as there are companies. There
are strong PMOs and weak PMOs. There are some that have many
responsibilities in the organization and some that have only a few. Some
companies rely on the PMO to be responsible for all areas of project
management and project execution. Other companies only want the PMO to
provide a consolidated reporting view of all the projects in the
Before you can jump in and start up a PMO, you must first
define what the PMO will look like. Without this foundation, all of the
other work you do will be in jeopardy.
The place to start creating your
PMO is through a formal organizational definition. The value of defining a
logical organization is twofold. First, you gain clarity and agreement on
what you are doing and why. This information is communicated to clients,
stakeholders and your own staff so that everyone starts off with a common
set of expectations. Second, this exercise provides a framework for the
PMO to guide decision-making in the future. For instance, you would not
want to undertake any PMO projects that did not help you achieve your
organizational objectives. Likewise, major decisions can be evaluated
based on whether they fit into your strategy.
Building a Logical
The term "logical organization" means that when the
definition is complete, the organizational structure will only exist
on paper. Once the logical organization is defined, you still need to
actually staff the PMO at the right level to support the logical
organization. The following major components are used to define your
logical PMO. Many companies have the expertise to perform this definition by
themselves. However, defining missions and strategies is something that
you do not do every day. That is why consultants are sometimes brought in
to assist. There are consultants that specialize in these organization
assessments. They can facilitate the definition process and make sure that
the resulting logical organization provides a firm foundation for the
subsequent staffing and project execution.
- Mission: Describes what the
PMO does, how it is done, and for whom. It is a very general statement,
usually aligning the PMO to the value it provides to the business. An
example of a PMO mission statement is "The Acme Project Management Office
(PMO) implements and supports project management methodology to enable
our organization to deliver projects faster, cheaper, with higher quality
and within estimates and expectations."
- Strategy: There may be many
ways to achieve your mission. A strategy is a high-level set of directions
that articulates how the organization will achieve its mission. Defining a
strategy also helps get the PMO aligned in the same direction as
strategies in the rest of the company. Strategy defines how you will do
things over the long-term - say three years - and is used as an overall
framework for the more detailed tactical decisions that are made on a month-to-month and day-to-day basis.
- Objectives: Objectives are
concrete statements describing what the PMO is trying to achieve in the
short-term, perhaps up to one year. The objectives should be written at a
low level, so that it can be evaluated at the end of the year to see
whether it was achieved or not. A well-worded objective will be
Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART).
- Sponsor: All organizations do not have a sponsor, but a PMO typically
does. In this respect, a PMO is similar to a project and, in fact, many
PMOs are established with a project. The sponsor is the person responsible
for the PMO funding, and in many cases the sponsor is the manager that the
PMO reports to. Sponsors are important for all initiatives, but they are
absolutely critical for a culture change initiative such as this.
- Clients: Clients are the main individuals or groups that request and
utilize the products and services your organization provides. (These
people may also be referred to as customers.) While there may be many
stakeholders (below), it is important to recognize who the clients are.
They should be the ones the PMO focuses on - to help them meet their
project and business objectives.
- Stakeholders: These are the specific
people or groups who have an interest or a partial stake in the products
and services your PMO provides. Internal stakeholders could include
organizations you work with, but who are not directly under the PMO
umbrella. External stakeholders could include suppliers, investors,
community groups, and government organizations.
- Products / services:
Products describe tangible items that the PMO produces, and are typically
produced as the result of a project. Services refer to work done for
clients or stakeholders that does not result in the creation of tangible
deliverables. Services provide value by fulfilling the needs of others
through people contact and interaction. The PMO achieves its objectives
through the creation of products and the delivery of services.
- Transitional activities: Transitional activities are the specific
activities and projects that are required to implement the physical PMO.
If the PMO is new, these activities describe the work required to build
and staff the new organization. This does not imply the creation of a full
workplan, but it includes the immediate activities required to get you to
the point that the PMO workplan can be put into place.
There are other
aspects of the organization that can be defined as well, including the PMO
vision, principles, goals, skills, roles and responsibilities.
#1 " Defining and Supporting Project Management Methodology
foremost, most PMOs are responsible for the project management
methodology. On the one hand this is obvious, but there is more to this
responsibility than you might think. In general, the project management
methodology refers to the processes, procedures, templates, best
practices, standards, guidelines, policies, etc. that you use to manage
projects. The methodology must also be adaptable to meet the changing
needs of the business, and it must add value to the projects that utilize it.
In addition, as new technologies and methods emerge, the methodology
should evolve to reflect those improvements.
All projects create
deliverables / products. At the end of many projects, the deliverable that
is produced needs to be supported and maintained for some period of time
into the future. In many cases the product, and the related support, can
go on indefinitely.
Project management methodology should be viewed in
terms of a product. The methodology is deployed into the organization
through one or more projects. The processes, templates, training, etc.
that make up the methodology are some of the deliverables that are
produced. These deliverables, and the methodology in general, need to be
supported and improved over time. The support could be very simple. For
instance, you may decide to redesign a template based on feedback from
members of your organization. On a more complex note, the PMO may be asked
to implement processes in new areas. For instance, after the basic project
management rollout, your sponsor may ask the PMO to implement a metrics
program within the organization.
The point is that coming up with the
holistic approach to implementation, and then having a successful rollout, is
only part of the long-term focus of the PMO. The PMO needs to continue to
support and update the methodology, and continue to make sure it is
relevant in the organization. The initial development and the subsequent
support of the project management processes are known as Methodology
There are three major areas of methodology management "
methodology development, support and enhancement.
In the past, if you wanted a project management methodology, most
companies spent the time to develop one from scratch. This was not
necessarily difficult, since most of the basic project management processes
have been known for some time. However, developing a process from scratch
could be very time-consuming, especially if it is built at a detailed
With the arrival of the Internet, other options are available. New
methodologies have been developed and introduced into the marketplace.
Now, just as with a software package, there are three ways to obtain a
project management process.
- Build. Companies still have the option to
build a custom methodology from scratch.
- Buy. There are now alternatives
to look at to purchase and bring in-house. Consultants tend to have
methodologies, some of which are strictly for internal use, and some of
which are for sale to client companies. These can still be expensive,
although in many cases they are priced very reasonably. If you purchase a
methodology, you might be ready to start training and rollout within 30
- Buy and customize. The third alternative is to purchase a
methodology as your starting point and then customize it based on your own
needs. This allows you to only spend the time required to develop or
integrate your own organization standards, templates and processes.
There is an old adage about the deliverables produced by projects. That
is, the day you begin to deploy your product is the day you need to be
prepared to support it. This is true with project management methodology
as well. When you provide templates and training to the first people in
your organization, you must be prepared to support the people and the
products from then on.
Examples of support include:
- Answering questions
about the methodology and how best to apply it on individual projects.
- Helping people find things.
- Maintaining the document repository if
there are hardware, software or linkage problems.
- Providing ongoing
training classes for new and current employees.
The last category of methodology management is the enhancement of the
methodology over time. This includes areas such as the following:
- Expanding and extending the current processes. For instance, you may
initially deploy a basic quality management process, and then later extend
and expand the processes to raise the quality bar higher.
new training classes and extending the entire project management
- Enhancing processes and templates to make them more valuable
and easier to utilize.
Enhancements don't have to imply more and more
processes and templates. It is possible that you could be reducing as
well. For example, you may have had two Status Report templates for two
different stakeholder audiences that can later be consolidated into one.
One caution for PMOs is that you don't want to over engineer the project
management process. If you do too much extending and have too many
methodology requirements, you will start meeting resistance from project
managers who think the methodology is getting in the way of delivering
projects faster and cheaper.
Building Project Management Skills Through
Training and Coaching
Once the methodology has been selected, the PMO
has to work to get the organization to adopt the common processes. Two of
the primary ways this is done is through training and coaching services.
Training is one of the premiere services offered by PMOs. In fact, in many
organizations, the primary role of the PMO is to offer project management
training to the staff. Coaching refers to working with individual project
managers or project teams to transfer knowledge and teach new skills. This
is usually done in person, but can also occur over the phone or through
Determine Your Training Needs
Like many of the services offered,
training must be considered holistically, along with any other services
that the PMO is offering. It doesn't make sense to just start teaching
classes. Project management is a very broad field. There are dozens of
classes that can be offered, in many different formats and delivery modes.
The PMO must take a step back first to determine the subjects that most
sense to teach to each audience, as well as the timeframe and
dependencies of the subjects. The following steps will help.
the scope of training. An early and fundamental decision to make is the
scope of your training effort. One basic assumption is that if you offer
project management training, the project managers will be the primary
focus. However, there are other stakeholders as well. You need to decide
what, if anything, you will target to project managers, team members,
functional managers, clients and external partners. You must also decide
on content scope. For instance, will you just teach methodology skills, or
will you teach classes in soft skills as well (such as listening,
- Determine the training needs. The PMO should
assess the skill levels of the organization within the overall scope that
was determined earlier. This may have been done in an earlier
organization assessment. If not, then you need to gather feedback from
managers, clients and team members to find out strengths and areas for
- Create your Training Strategy and Plan. Now that you have
determined what you need, you need to determine how you will do it. The
Training Strategy describes how you will implement training at a high
level. The Training Plan describes the details behind the strategy. The
Training Plan gets down to the detailed level of determining the specific
classes to offer, the order of the classes, how the classes will be
developed and how they will be delivered. There are many options to
consider for training. For instance, customized classes can be
developed and taught by the PMO. This option is especially valuable if the
class must be delivered to many people and the cost of sending everyone to
outside public courses is prohibitive. You also have the option of using
consultants to help build the training classes much more quickly. You can
look at distance learning options such as webinars to reach your remote
staff economically. You can also look at computer-based training. There
are many options to look at when developing the entire training
curriculum. Once you have approval on these documents, you are ready to
execute the plan.
- Develop and teach the training curriculum. This is
basically the execution of your Training Plan. You would buy, build or
outsource various portions of your training needs, based on costs,
priorities and capabilities.
Set up Coaching Services
different from training. Training implies a formal teacher-pupil
relationship, and the formal instruction of material. Coaching is less
structured, and usually involves talking through situations and describing
or demonstrating how project management techniques can assist. (Note that
in some organizations, this type of service might be called project
management consulting, or mentoring.)
If your PMO provides coaching
services, you will need to be clear about what these services include. It is
difficult for every Coach to have expert knowledge in all aspects of project
management, especially when the deployment project is new. Instead, the
coaching services should be aligned to the areas being deployed at that
given time. For instance, if your PMO is initially deploying definition and
planning skills to the organization, the coaching services should be on those
same topics. The Coaches must be experts in those areas. On the other
hand, if a project manager wants coaching on quality management, the Coach
may have more limited knowledge. Later, when the PMO focuses on deploying
quality management, all the Coaches should be knowledgeable in the
You must also be clear on whether you will provide coaching in
non-project management processes. For instance, if you are coaching on
project management, you may get a request to help create a Test Plan. If
the scope of your PMO includes project management only, this is a request
you would not be able to help with. However, if your PMO also performs
coaching on the development life cycle, then perhaps you would be able to
help. Likewise, your PMO might receive a request to help a project team
use a scheduling tool. Again, if this were not a part of the coaching
service you are offering, you would need to decline the request.
Should Perform Audits and Assessments to Validate Progress
The PMO can
validate whether all of this work is effective through a combination of
project auditing and organization assessments.
Many of the services provided by the PMO, such as coaching and training,
are designed to build capability and increase skill levels. The auditing
service, however, serves two functions.
- You audit to check compliance.
It is used to ensure that project managers are using the new project
management processes. The results of the project audits will be used as
input into the periodic organization assessments.
- Auditing can also be
an opportunity for coaching. During the audit, you can help the project
manager understand how the methodology is applicable to their project. If
project managers are open minded, a project audit could be an opportunity
to learn new things about how the project management processes apply to
Project audits are one way for the PMO to validate that the project
teams are utilizing the appropriate project management processes. It is
one thing to provide training and coaching and have all the appropriate
processes and templates defined. It is another thing for the new processes
to actually be adopted and utilized by the project teams. If you want to
change the culture and make sure that the new processes are sticking, you
must make sure that the project teams are utilizing them correctly. The
purpose of the auditing session is to determine how well the project
manager and project team are utilizing the project management methodology.
During the project audit, a member of the PMO asks a series of questions
to ensure compliance with the required processes and procedures.
companies could utilize consultants in some (or all) of this project
management deployment. Project auditing is another service that
consultants can execute effectively. Although the internal PMO will handle
this service in most companies, project auditing is a stand-alone service
that outside parties can also handle effectively. In fact, there are
companies that have special expertise in auditing. In some cases, having an
outside party perform the audits gives the process an extra air of legitimacy
that will cause senior management to pay attention.
If your organization
is set up with the project managers reporting directly into the PMO, then
the adoption of project management processes is within the control of the
PMO. However, in most organizations, the project managers continue to
report into their functional organizations. In any culture change
initiative middle management plays a key role in overall success or
failure. Middle managers can be a huge asset if they are behind the
culture change. Unfortunately, they can also be the biggest obstacles to
overcome if they are not totally on board. (Unfortunately this is more
typical of the general role that middle managers play.)
reinforce the responsibilities of the managers, the results of the project
audit should be documented and sent back to the project manager, as well
as the manager of the project manager. In addition, the results are
summarized and sent to the project sponsor, Steering Committee and other
management stakeholders. If a team is not using the standard processes,
the senior managers and the sponsor ultimately need to ask questions.
These questions to the managers are designed to make sure that the middle
managers understand the important of pushing the changes within their
Don't Audit All Projects
The auditing process can be time
consuming. Just as it is not possible to provide coaching for all projects,
it is also not practical to audit all projects. Actually, you don't
need to. As was discussed previously, much of the push to implement
standard project management processes is going to come from senior and
middle managers. If you audit a project in a certain department and they
come out pretty well, it is likely that the other projects in that same
area will come out well also since the functional manager is probably
helping with the push. On the other hand, if you audit a project and they
are not following the standard procedures, it is likely a sign that the
manager from that area is not being supportive of the methodology, and
other projects in that area will probably have problems as well. Raising
visibility of the problem projects should bring organizational pressure to
bear to make the proper changes.
done on a project-by project basis. However, on a periodic basis (yearly or
semi-annually) the PMO should look at the entire organization and assess
how well the project management processes are being integrated into the
work routine. This is a similar process to what was done at the beginning
of the initiative in the Current State Assessment, although the follow-up
assessments are not nearly as detailed or rigorous. The assessments can
consist of feedback from project audits, interviews with key managers and
stakeholders, antidotal feedback and any metrics that are available. These
assessments are compared to the prior assessments to gain a sense for the
progress being made. This information is especially interesting to the
sponsor and other management stakeholders who need to understand how the
implementation is going and whether it is successful or not.
If you are implementing to a large organization, you will probably find
that some areas are implementing the processes more effectively than
others. For that reason, the assessment needs to be sure to cover all
major departments or divisions.
By performing a number of assessments over
time, the PMO can gain a sense of the whether project management processes
are being successfully integrated into the organization. Assessments also
offer the opportunity to take corrective actions if the new processes are
not being successfully integrated into the organization.
PMO to Consolidate Project Status and Metrics
One service that is
typically associated with a PMO is to provide common, rollup reporting on
the state of all the projects being executed within the organization. This
concept can be extended so that the PMO tracks a complete, portfolio-wide
view of all active, pending and historical projects.
On the surface, this
might seem like a trivial exercise. However, it can be quite
time-consuming. First, the PMO must work with the management stakeholders
to define what is in the consolidated status report. Some organizations
like to keep each project to one line, with some type of overall status
indicator such as green (okay), yellow (caution) or red (trouble). If the
reader wants more information, he or she can follow-up with the project
manager. Other organizations like to see a full status report on each
project. If there are questions or concerns, the status report may contain
the answers that the reader is looking for, without have to follow-up
further with the project manager.
The PMO needs to collect status
information on each project, consolidate it and report it. However,
like all activities that rely on people, this can be easier said than done.
Your PMO will probably encounter the following challenges.
- Timeliness. First, chances are all the project managers will not send you
the required status information within the timeframe you need it.
- Accuracy. In many cases, the information will not be accurate. For
instance, the project manager may make his or her project appear to be on
schedule, even though not all scheduled activities are completed. Their
rationale is that they will make up the activities in the next reporting
period. You may spot this if the accomplishments for the previous period
do not reflect the same work that was supposed to be completed according
to the prior Status Report.
- Completeness. In many cases, the
information on the report is accurate, and it may also be timely. However,
you may find that it is not complete. For instance, the information
provided may be very brief and does not provide a real sense for the
status of the project.
Of course, these problems need to be overcome. The
PMO can address these types of chronic problems through activities such as
- Explain who is requesting the information and what it
will be used for. This is a key aspect of consolidated reporting. People
do not like to spend the time to provide information if they don't feel
it will be used. If they understand who is requesting the information, it
might take on more priority in their mind.
- Be clear on the information
you need and use what you are requesting. You want to be clear on the
information you need and how it will be used. Make sure that you do not
ask for status information that you don't need it for consolidated
- Clearly communicate when the Status Reports are due. The
PMO will have difficulty gathering status information from some percentage
of project teams. Make sure that you don't give anyone the excuse that
they did not know when it was due.
- Follow-up with project managers on
items that need further explanation and clarity. If you receive status
information that does not contain the content or format you need make sure
you follow-up with the project manager. This follow-up is designed to
make sure that the project managers know what you need differently, with
the hope that you won't then have to continue to follow-up with them
- Use the governance process if necessary. If you find that the
PMO is spending too much time running around for the information every
month, you are going to have to go back to the sponsor for help. This is
where you need backing on the process governance. Senior managers need
to be held accountable if project managers in their organization cannot
get the status reports in correctly and on-time.
There are a number of places where the organization gains value with the
implementation of project management. If the PMO does not attempt to track
and quantify some of these benefits, the organization will have no idea
what value has been provided. In general, the metrics associated with
project management value are also indirectly indicative of the value of
the PMO. For instance, if more projects complete within expectations, it
would indicate the value associated with project management, and would, in
turn, point out the value provided by the PMO.
One of the most difficult items the PMO will be asked to work on is
determining the value of the project management. It is one of the more
fundamental questions for your sponsor and senior management to ask. And
yet it is also one of the most difficult to successfully answer. There
seems to be intuitive value in implementing a standard project management
methodology, but if you try to quantify the value, you will quickly become
stuck. It is a little like holding a cloud. From the distance, it seems
like there should be something there that is solid that you can get your
hands on. However, the closer you get, the more vague and transparent
everything becomes. There are a couple approaches to these organizational
metrics. One is to rely on industry research and look for companies and
case studies that are similar to your organization to compare yourselves
to. The thought is that if someone else was able to measure value and you
are a similar company implementing in a similar way, you should be able to
claim similar value.
Second is to actually try to calculate the value
associated with using a methodology. For instance, the PMO can work with
project managers on different types of projects to determine cost savings
associated with maintaining good scope change procedures, managing risk proactively,
and managing client expectation effectively. As you continue to interview
a subset of the project managers, you should start to see some trends that
you can apply to the rest of the projects in your organization.
look for the reuse value associated with using the common project
management process. Again, this approach asks project managers to estimate
the savings associated with using similar processes on multiple projects
and getting their estimate of the cost and time savings associated with
reusing the common processes on an ongoing basis.
There are some areas of
service where the PMO does not already have a sufficient level of
expertise. Metrics could be another one of these areas. Many companies do
not know much about defining and capturing a good set of metrics. Some
consulting firms have a strong expertise in this area that could be
leveraged to make sure you start off on the right foot
Round out the PMO
with Other Product and Service Offerings
It is difficult to address all
the potential services having to do with PMOs, but here is an attempt to
summarize some of them. Keep in mind that probably no single PMO will
undertake responsibility for all of the services mentioned below. However,
understanding the nature of the many services that can be offered will help
you determine the most important areas that will be offered by your PMO
Establish and Support a Document Repository
One of the value propositions
to deploying common project management processes is the ability to
reuse processes, procedures, templates, prior examples, etc. However, the
ability to reuse documentation does not come about like magic. If project
managers want to see whether there might be preexisting material that
would help them, they are not going to be expected to contact every other
project manager. To facilitate process and document reuse, the PMO needs
to establish and manage a Document Repository. This could be as easy as
setting up a directory structure that everyone in the organization can
access. It might also be more elaborate and multi-functional, like a tool
specifically designed for document management. Depending on how you
implement this facility, you need to properly set up a classification
structure, make sure that only approved information is posted there, make
sure the information stays current and relevant and make sure that the
facility is actively marketed and utilized by the organization.
Key Learnings to Best Practices
At the end of every project, the project
manager, team, client and major stakeholders should get together in an
end-of-project meeting to discuss what was planned and what actually
happened. At some point in the meeting, you should turn your attention to
lessons-learned. The lessons should be collected and consolidated in the
Document Repository. One problem, however, with lessons-learned is that
they typically only apply to that one project.
As the PMO collects more
and more key learnings, they may start to see patterns emerge in the
lessons learned. At some point, lessons learned from projects can be raised
from the level of a best practice. A best practice statement implies that
the benefit can be gained for all projects, not just the few that reported
Coordinate a Common Resource Pool
All companies need to have a
process to staff projects. In some companies, the resources are allocated
per business units. In other companies, all of the project people are
assigned to one central staff. Since the PMO is a focal point for all
project management related activity, it is the right place to manage these
common resource pools. The resource pool could be for project managers
only, or it could be for all potential project team members. Creating a
common resource pool involves taking a skills inventory of all shared
resources and keeping track of when each person will become available from
their current project. The PMO can then have the information available as
new project are ready to start, or the PMO can, in fact, have certain
projects started based on the availability of skillsets.
Document Review Service
Document reviews can be offered on a
stand-alone basis to help ensure that project managers are utilizing the
standard templates as they were intended and that they are being completed
clearly and consistently. This service basically just involves project
managers sending in project deliverables to receive a quick review and
feedback. The PMO is not "approving" the document, but they are providing
feedback on the content, format and readability of the specified document.
Define the Role of Contractors on Projects
Most companies utilize
contractors for some portion of their workload. The question that your
company must answer is how best to utilize contractors and how best to
utilize employees. There is not one answer that fits all companies. Each
company and each organization must determine the things that are most
important to them, and create an overall policy for utilizing contractors
within that context. For instance, one company might decide that their
business runs on their legacy systems, and they are not going to trust
contractors to keep these applications running. Another company may decide
that the legacy systems represent the past, and that new projects
represent the future. In that company, they may decide to rely on
contractors for support, but they may prefer to utilize employees for new
projects. Likewise, some companies insist that all senior positions be
staffed with employees. Other companies do not have a problem placing
contractors in any position where they are short of employees or do not
have the right employee available. The PMO can help determine the right
policies for your company.
Benchmark with Other Companies
company becomes more sophisticated utilizing metrics, you might realize
that collecting internal data on internal projects is valuable, but can
only take you so far. You don't really know how efficient and effective
your project delivery is unless you can compare how you deliver projects
against other companies. Benchmarking studies (one-time) and benchmarking
programs (longer-term) are a way to compare your organization against
others. Benchmarking requires that you gather a set of predefined metrics
that describe the result of very well defined processes. The resulting metrics that are captured from other companies,
using the same set of processes and definitions, can be used to create
benchmarking statistics that allow you to compare your organization against
others. This information can be evaluated to determine if there are
similar changes that can be applied to your organization to achieve similar
Benchmarking is an area that few companies want to try to start
on their own. It requires a lot of work, and the processes you define need
to be applicable to a range of outside companies. If you are going to
benchmark, you are generally going to need to utilize an outside firm that
specializes in benchmarking. This company may already have the core set of
processes, metrics and benchmarks defined. They can also spend the time to
get other companies involved, they can conduct the study and they can help
interpret the results.
TenStep, Inc. (www.TenStep.com) is
headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and specializes in developing,
consulting and training in business methodologies. The company's flagship
product is the TenStep Project Management Process®, which has been
licensed to thousands of companies and individuals around the world. In
addition, TenStep has training, consulting and business methodology
products covering Project Management Offices, portfolio management,
software development and application support.
The TenStep process is
translated into 14 languages, allowing it to be utilized by organizations
in most parts of the world.
TenStep meets the needs of local businesses
with a network of offices in the USA and around the world.
- Project Management (advanced and basic)
for the PMP Exam
- Earned Value Management
- Setting up and Running
Project Management Offices
- Setting up and Running Portfolios
- Gathering Business Requirements
- Many, many more
Our consulting services
- Project management deployment and customization
- Project Quickstarts
- Setting up PMOs
- Project management coaching, auditing
- Managing your projects
- Many more
Tom Mochal, PMP is the president of TenStep, Inc. (www.TenStep.com)
a methodology development, consulting and training company. He is also the
head of The TenStep Group, a network of TenStep offices supporting the
TenStep process in numerous languages and countries around the world.
Mochal is author of a book on managing people called "Lessons in People
Management" and a companion book on project management called "Lesson in
Project Management". Mochal also authored all of the TenStep methodology
Mochal recently won the Distinguished Contribution Award from
the Project Management Institute for his work spreading knowledge of
project management around the world.
Mochal is a speaker, lecturer,
instructor and consultant to companies and organizations around the world.
He is a member of the Atlanta, Georgia (USA) chapter of the
Management Institute (PMI), the American Management Association (AMA), the
American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (ASAPM), and
is a partner in The Management Mentors, a group dedicated to building
knowledge in project management, IT management and leadership/personal
Setting up a Project Management Office does not have
to be a daunting task. We have done it before. Contact us for more
877.536.8434 / 770.795.9097
us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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