If you are putting together – or thinking of putting together – a project office, then you need to think about how to get there…from point A to point B. I’ve watched the creation of, participated in the creation of and even created a project management office of my own and for me…it comes down to these 4 key tips for making sure your project management office is successful as possible.
Put a PMO Director in charge. Hire a PMO director. My vote is that this person should come from outside – not inside – the organization. Why? Partly just because I’ve seen too many failures from organizations who took a resource manager who was in between jobs and put them in charge of the PMO. Bad call. But also, the PMO director should be unbiased and focused solely on the success of the PM infrastructure. No favorite executives or department managers. They should also not end up leading projects. The director needs to be focused on PM career development for his staff and focused on the satisfied customers that each project should be producing. He needs to help rundown big issues, remove roadblocks, implement and enforce policies, report up to senior management and gain visibility for his fledgling PM organization.
Make sure senior management is behind the PMO project. It’s absolutely critical that the PMO have the backing and buy-in of the company’s executive management team. That’s where funding comes from, that’s were adoption by the rest of the organization starts, and that’s where your customers see what’s important to the organization. If the executive team has a stake in the PMO, then that PMO much more likely to become a viable part of the organization.
Put good processes, practices, and templates in place. Having document shells and templates in place, policies that govern how the PMO will be run and how information will be shared and warehoused, and the processes it will follow to manage projects and report project status information is critical to the ongoing success of the PMO. With repeatable processes and templates in place, your organization then has the tools for success and is not leaving each project’s success up to chance or luck. Rather, the organization will be able to recognize success, why it happened and repeat it on future engagements.
Staff with experienced project managers. Finally, hire good, experienced project managers. A PMO stocked full of project managers with PMP and other certifications won’t guarantee success. It is critical that your PMO be made up of individuals with project successes under their belts. Mentoring is essential and these experienced PMs with real PM success stories (and failures…that’s how we learn) will be the best individuals to help new project managers in the organization learn how to effectively and successfully manage engagements on an ongoing basis.
Summary / call for input
Nothing will guarantee PMO success. I’ve seen bad ones succeed and good ones fail. But sticking to these four principles or steps will certainly help you lay the groundwork for a solid project management office, based on my experience. How about our