Creating a Project/Programme Management Office [PMO] Structure

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What Is a PMO?
A PMO is a centralised, co-ordinating body within an organisation (project or programme) that provides a focal point for the field of project and programme management. It can identify and address management issues to support and facilitate the achievement of organisational outcomes.

What Are the Benefits of Having a PMO?
According to Gartner, an investment in a Project Management Office (PMO) as a management discipline can provide common planning and reporting processes and bring structure and support to evaluating, justifying, defining, planning, tracking and executing projects and programmes. It also encourages the resolution of conflicts caused by limited resources and other constraints.
We've all seen renegade projects that seem to run according to their own agenda. A PMO can help organisations create effective control and oversight and integrate them with the overall business outcomes.
Some of the benefits of instituting a PMO can include:
• Establishing an enterprise focus on improvement (effective management competency)
• Developing or enhancing management skills and knowledge through training or mentoring
• Ensuring consistency and uniformity in controls, monitoring and delivery
• Reducing overruns and increasing delivery speed
• Increasing customer satisfaction through achievement of outcomes
• Archiving operational and performance data
• Providing a centralised point of reference for management practice

What Functions Can a PMO Undertake?
The kinds of functions undertaken by the PMO can vary widely. It will depend largely on the organisations': size, maturity, experience, level of available skill, exposure and the level of executive support for management generally.
In some ways, what the PMO does depends on how innovative the organisation wants to be. Some of the functions a PMO might typically manage include:
• Review and approve project requests and allocate funding
• Develop standard project processes, tools and templates
• Establish and contextualise best practice methodology
• Develop common expectations and language
• Allocation of resources, consulting services and manage all projects and programmes centrally
• Provide training, certification and coaching to build core management skills
• Track status and achievements of all the organisation's projects and programmes to plan
• Advocate for project management and provide education within the organisation
• Manage prioritisation and governance

What Is the Process to Follow to Introduce a PMO?
Launching a PMO is just like any other organisational change and should be approached as such. There are a number of key steps that need to be undertaken to create a successful PMO that works for the organisation.

1. Establish the Role, Scope and Outcomes for the PMO
The role of the PMO may be different in some organisations. It is important to consult widely with stakeholders to establish their ideas and needs and to determine how and where the PMO will fit within the organisation.
2. Review Existing Projects, Programmes and Skill Levels to Identify Needs, Gaps and Shortfalls
Often the incentive for establishing a PMO comes from a history of failed, under-performing or low ROI. Examining recent and existing projects and programmes can identify shortfalls, skills and other gaps that the organisation can address more effectively and efficiently through the creation of a centralised PMO function.
3. Plan the Implementation According to Corporate Needs
Once we have determined the purpose of the PMO and what it is to achieve within the organisation we then need to prepare a PMO implementation plan.
4. Establish Procedures and Processes
Depending on the scope of the PMO it may require documentation of issues like: project approval processes, recruitment and training and funding management. Document templates may also be developed. Develop reporting mechanisms and timeframes: The PMO is likely to have a number of different reporting responsibilities. For example individual projects may need to report regularly to the PMO and the PMO may have to provide an organisational or portfolio report to the executive. To be effective, these mechanisms need to be agreed and established early.
5. Review the PMO
Of course as things change, organisations become more mature, methodologies emerge and structures evolve, the role and scope of the PMO must change as well. It is important to work with the executive board to regularly review the PMO's performance and scope so it remains current and relevant to the organisation's changing business needs.

Provide the tools, processes and support
necessary to enable organisations to do the 

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