The reasons behind setting up a PMO are diverse but often are linked to a set of challenges related to organizational projects. Many of my clients have articulated an inability to keep track of progress on projects and a lack of visibility to enable proactive corrective actions. Some also have gone beyond this to express frustrations with the lack of consistency in the way that projects are managed and reported on. Once these needs are identified, the executives will authorize the initiative to implement a PMO in their organization. However, following the identification of needs, the “project” of setting up a PMO tends to turn into a very difficult and complicated journey that results in many false starts and hiccups along the way. In the end the PMO may not be able to deliver what was originally envisioned.
At the core of these challenges and discussions are structural setup parameters of the PMO. Typically, as soon as the executives decide to build the PMO and identify a champion to drive the process, they immediately jump into addressing structural questions like:
- who should the PMO report into?
- how many staff members should the PMO have and what reporting chains should it have?
- which organizational projects should it manage?
- should we hire more project managers for the PMO?
- what level of authority should we provide to the PMO versus the functional managers?
While all of these questions are important to address, what is more important is the timing of when organizational leaders should address them within. In the early stages executives should engage in discussions around critical success factors and business objectives, long before they try to address complex structural issues that will invariably be influenced by organizational needs and requirements.
Savvy PMO leaders should help organizational executives in developing a greater understanding of the roadmap and journey needed to ensure that a process is put in place to first define requirements, second build business processes for the PMO, and finally define the appropriate structures. This in itself is a critical success factor for PMOs. This is fundamentally what the RapidStartPMO methodology is all about. If you have not had a chance yet, I invite you to check out the Free Introduction to RapidStartPMO online training course for an in-depth look at the framework at the following link.