How PMO Guides A Project To Success?

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Managing a project starts from initiation phase to closure and finally delivering the expected value. However, the real tough job lies in the end part for where many projects leads fail across the organizations.

There can be many factors why projects fail but few major ones are Scheduling, Costing, Scoping, Quality. It might be due to some other reasons like poor planning or inaccurate project estimation. Ultimately, the project may eventually fail to deliver the expected value to the end customer leaving a bitter relationship as well as damaging the company’s brand value.

How about getting a helping hand while doing the project planning or cost estimation? Isn’t great if somebody guides you through the process, makes you aware of some useful tools and techniques, processes and metrics which can be used for managing, planning and estimating the project works to achieve the desired results?

The Project Management Office, in short, the PMO can guide your project to its success. It is a group or department inside your organization which provides the necessary support and guidance to successfully execute your project work. The PMO ensures that the projects in the organization must follow the standards of project management by providing all the essential documents, templates and metrics according to the project management standards and procedures for their use.

PMO Structures in your Organization?

There are various types of PMO structures in different organizations to control and influence the projects. In some organizations, they play the role of consultant to encourage the project managers to practice the project management standards, whereas in other organizations they have complete authority to enforce the standards in the projects.

So, based on the control and influence power of PMO, it is broadly divided into three categories.

Supportive PMO: This type of PMO supports the projects by providing various project management standard templates, guides, and other documents. They also provide training related to best practices of project management. They act as the knowledge base to guide the projects but their influence level is very low.

Controlling PMO: They support the projects by providing the required templates and documents, as well as they ensure that specific templates and frameworks of project management are implements in the projects. Their level of influencing power is little higher than the supportive PMO.

Authoritative PMO: This type of PMO takes total control of the project. They directly manage the project with the latest practices and standards of project management. They have the highest controlling power oven the project.

How PMO works in your Organization?

Irrespective of whether the project management office in your organizations are supportive, controlling or authoritative, let’s discuss some of the common responsibilities they are used to perform in the organizations.

  • The project management office is responsible for creating and maintaining various templates and documents of project management standards which can be used across the projects to save time and cost.
  • They ensure that all the projects are following the project management standards across the organization by conducting regular assessments.
  • They help the projects to get the required resources, shares the resources between projects.
  • They are the mentor, providing training to the project team to keep them updated on the standard practices and procedures of project management processes according to the principles defined by PMBOK, PRINCE2 or other similar project management knowledge body.
  • Another important work they perform is to monitor all the projects and provide the status to the upper management at regular intervals. They audit the projects to ensure that the project management standards are being followed honestly.
  • They are the source of information for all the project management standards and procedures. They develop and manage various policies and documentations, which can be referred by the project managers to implement in their projects.
  • They also coordinate effective communications between the projects to ensure that there should not be any gap in implementing and practicing the project management standards.
  • The PMO can recommend the termination of projects and also helps to gather the lesson learned which can be preserved to share with other projects.

How Project Managers are different from PMO?

While discussing on the roles and responsibilities of PMO, a common question arises on the need of project management office in the organizations. Some people argued that if the project manager is capable of implementing the project management standards and procedures in the project then what is the need of a separate body in the organization.

Whether a separate department is necessary or not, that is a debatable topic anyway. But my argument here is that, instead of relying on one person’s knowledge and capacity to manage a million dollar project, it is worth to have a bunch of experts whose sole objective is to implement and monitor the projects according to the proven project management standards and procedures to get the desired success.

Let’s see the difference in the role of project managers and PMO, and how the PMO can contribute to the growth of the organization.

  • The project managers are mostly occupied in the project works with the sole objective to deliver the committed project deliverable, while the PMO manages the major scope changes with objective to find better opportunities for the organization
  • The PMO manages the standard and procedures of project management across the projects, metrics, interdependencies among projects, templates etc., while the Project Managers manages the individual projects in respective to the project constraints such as schedule, cost, scope, quality etc.
  • The PM manages is supposed to monitor the resources assigned to the project to achieve the project objective, while the PMO thinks about the overall shared resources at the organization level. They ensure that the shared resources are being optimized to its potential.
  • The PMO sets the rules and guidelines as per the project management standards to be followed in the projects. The project managers implement those guidelines and standards in their projects.

The PMO plays the crucial role for successful execution of projects in an organization, as they implement the proven project management standards and procedure for successful completion of a project. That is the reason why many organizations are now having a project management office in their premises. Though the number of staff in the PMO are varied, but on average 10-12 members are there.

Updated on 22-Jan-2020 06:58:50