Project management involves the planning and organization of a company's resources to move a specific task, event, or duty towards completion. It can involve a one-time project or an ongoing activity, and resources managed may cover a range including personnel, finances, technology & intellectual property.

A project management office (PMO) is a group driving project execution through creating scheduling efficiency, documenting processes and reporting best practices and next steps centrally. A PMO is typically recommended for large, complex, or multi-workstream projects. The upfront cost of implementing the PMO saves a higher long-term cost arising from project inefficiencies. In light of the new ways of working due to COVID, teams are more dispersed and a central PMO becomes even more critical for efficient project execution. We believe a PMO is a fundamental and critical capability required to orchestrate a successful project as it presents several benefits, including:

  • Visibility - Creating transparency to predict risks and align on project outcomes
  • Agility - Driving agility by establishing linkages and dependencies between workstreams
  • Center of Excellence - Creating a central, end-to-end management office driving alignment and support across all projects and workstreams
  • Quality - Creating best practices across projects for optimal resourcing & deliverables
  • People - Increasing awareness and raising value for project stakeholders

At a-connect we challenged the incomplete market perception of PMO work to develop the PMO2 framework. In this article, we push the envelope further to provide a step-by-step process to establish your own PMO.

 

Key considerations for setting up your PMO: Think of the project management process as composed of three main stages.


1.     Establish Objectives

  • Clarify PMO objectives to align with sponsors’ expectations
  • Create project milestones to track progress towards the aligned objectives

2.     Identify Sponsor(s) and Stakeholders

  • A senior/executive sponsor mandates PMO requirements and enables transparency
  • The sponsor can remove barriers and enable faster issue resolution
  • Identify stakeholders and draft a RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) map

3.     Create Tools and processes

  • Based on functions the PMO would need to support, create tools and processes for:
    • Financial planning (budget)
    • RAID management (Risks, Assumptions, Issues, Dependencies)
    • Performance KPIs & Reporting (report types and cadence)
    • Quality assurance
    • Change control (scope, costs, schedule, benefits)
    • Resourcing (org design, recruitment, resource planning)
    • Communication
    • Procurement
    • Documents repository

4.     Source Infrastructure (skills and resources needed)

  • Ensure skills and resources align with PMO objectives and can deliver on them
  • Develop detailed and consistent project onboarding approach
  • Develop teams by workstreams/activities and assign resources and tasks

5.     Organize Engagement and Communication with key stakeholders

  • Clearly communicate objectives, outcomes, responsibilities, and expectations
  • Gain positive confirmation by establishing open communication and feedback channel
  • Establish project governance model and issue escalation process
  • Establish check-ins with PMO managers and stakeholders to gauge team morale

6.     Set-up Reporting Cadence

  • Develop and communicate comprehensive progress reports to key stakeholders
  • Adhere to reporting cadence to keep sponsor(s) updated about progress
  • Establish systems to capture learnings & feedback for continuous improvement
  • Perform a final project budget and prepare a final project report

The above approach is second nature at a-connect – an approach that has allowed us to successfully help clients solve their most pressing problems. Empowerment and engagement of stakeholders helps transition the organization to new ways of working. The ‘Project Kick-Off’ is an ideal opportunity to set the governance and expectations with all stakeholders. To institutionalize the necessary processes in the long term, the PMO needs to drive towards creating a change culture in-house to ensure continued improvement.