The Project Office as an Aide to Project Management

The Project Office or Project Management Office in a professional venture or business is the department that sets and ensures maintenance of standards in the process of project management within an organization. It acts as a source of documentation and provides guidelines and best practices for metrics to effectively measure project management standards.


An effective PMO should base the principles of project management on accepted industry standards such as PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) or PRINCE2 (Process based approach for Project Management).

It has been found by surveys that ninety percent of projects do not meet their targets in terms of time, cost or quality. The main reasons contributing to failure is poor project management, lack of communication and complexity or ignorance of scope.

Surveys indicate that the longer a company has an operating PMO group the more easily they found to complete a project successfully by accomplishing goals. PMO’s also may participate in strategic Project Management by facilitating or owning the Portfolio management development. They actively do monitoring and reporting on active projects by constant follow up and reporting the status to top management. This aide’s the senior management on making strategic decisions concerning project.

From an organizational perspective a PMO can be one of the three types varying in the extent to which they control and influence projects within an organization. They are Enterprise PMO, Organizational PMO or PMO implemented for a special purpose.

The PMOSIG (Program Management Office Significant Interest working Group) is the largest community working on the interests of PMO and acts as a central forum to work together, improve the knowledge base and enhance the maturity of PMO practices within their own forum and the business environment at large. The PMOSIG views the PMO as “a strategic driver for organizational excellence and seeks to provide products and services that enhance the practices of execution management, organizational governance, and strategic change leadership”.

A PMO can be broadly defined as an organization’s entity staffed with accomplished and professional workforce that offer’s services in the core and supporting areas during project planning and execution. The PMO process in general comprises of the four distinct phases Project Planning, Project Scheduling, Risk Analysis and Project Tracking.

The Project Planning phase involves the estimation of the size, time and resources required. The Project Scheduling Phase consists of preparation of the project’s terminal elements with the proposed start and finish dates. The terminal elements are the items estimated in terms of resource requirements, cost and duration connected by dependencies.

The Risk analysis phase involves the process in which risks are identified, assessed and prioritized and resources are applied to minimize, control and monitor the impact. The Project tracking phase involves the monitoring and reporting of the actual status of the project against the plan. Throughout all these phases, project management tools and software help in organizing and tracking project activities.

All successful PMO’s should feature the right processes, the right people and the right tools. A PMO has a more comprehensive role than being the project staff that ensures support to project activities in project planning, financial forecasts and tracking methodologies.

Successful PMO’s play a key role in strategy implementation on organizations by linking all projects to operational business plans , making sure that projects adheres to business goals, making sure that the project managers are effective, implementing and maintaining policies and standards consistently, grouping similar projects and managing them, mentoring the project personnel ,implementing and coordinating project portfolio management.

The tools and approaches of effective project management is documented, closely managed and continuously improved by the PMO. They should provide useful, practical project templates to make certain the right type of documentation is carried out.

The PMO also should seek feedback and incorporate it in its policies and also include the Lessons learned. The focus of PMO should not be on ensuring compliance by force but rather the tone should be inviting, and learning and improvement embraced. PMO’s ensures that the right resources are available as demanded in the project life cycle by coordinating with the resource pools of an organization. They can also improve training by developing a staff of program managers across the organization.

A PMO can help to build consistent methodologies for processes that are repeatable. PMO needs the support and commitment of senior managers to work effectively. Placing the vision of PMO on the visibility of senior management ensures that the PMO does not become just a administrative office but instead serves as a catalyst for realization of strategic goals. The senior management can advise what to track and set expectations and the standards to be benchmarked upon.

PMO should be in charge of making sure that the organization is “doing the right thing right” and aide the project management in turning strategy into effective action. They can help organizations save money by empowerment of better resource management, reducing project failures and prioritizing and concentrating on projects with higher paybacks.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 


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