But it isn't simply a matter of consistently practicing resource management standards that makes the difference. Successful organizations also display some structural and process characteristics that support good resource management. These characteristics include:. In fact, our experience tells us that effective portfolio management, project management training, and resource allocation is rarely carried out except by such a PMO.
The first organizational characteristic on the above list sets the stage. Organizations with mature PMOs are able to address a wide range of business problems more effectively, from executing corporate strategy and implementing project management methodology, to managing the project portfolio and balancing resources across competing initiatives Pennypacker, In fact, to get a firm handle on the data and practices that can improve resource management, the PMO is essential.
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Of key roles identified by Gartner, Inc. These roles—outlined with great foresight nearly a decade ago, at a time when PMOs were relatively rare—provide a picture of an organizational entity wherein the resources who staff projects are hired, trained, developed, career-tracked, and evaluated, as well as being thoughtfully allocated to projects. Over the past decade, we have seen PMO practice move in precisely this direction.
Today, the mature PMO contributes to effective resource management in two crucial ways: By centralizing the management of project resources, and by deploying those resources rationally across the project portfolio.
Increasingly, according to our State of the PMO study, top-performing organizations have mature enterprise-level PMOs that pull in a number of roles and responsibilities related to human resource management. For instance, the top performers in that study, far more frequently than low-performing companies, perform resource identification; develop processes for assigning resources; manage a staff of project planners and controllers within the PMO; and manage their own training, professional development, and performance evaluations.
In the recent past, it was rare for PMOs to maintain and manage their own project management staff. However, the past few years have seen a significant trend in this direction. It's only logical that, as organizations move further and further away from the functional organization and ad hoc projects, project expertise becomes more centralized.
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Today, the most successful organizations are those with enterprise PMOs that manage a staff of PMs and project support roles. By concentrating project management resources within the PMO, an organization is able to achieve four goals critical to mastering resource management:. Assess the competency of PMs. Defining competencies for critical jobs helps a company identify criteria that can be used to assess employees for recruitment, in performance appraisal, and in making professional development choices.
In truly competence-driven organizations, pay and other rewards are also linked to competency, as are training opportunities and other forms of professional development, so that:.
Why command and control PMOs are killing project management
Resource management is only one of the project management competencies that poor PMs struggle with; elevating the capabilities of PMs resolves a host of project problems, including resource challenges. Build professional development programs. As a center for the development of expertise, the PMO makes possible a systematic, integrated professional development path and ties training to real project needs as well as rewarding project teams in ways that reflect and reinforce success on projects.
This is quite different from the reward and training systems presently in place in most organizations, which tend to focus on functional areas and ignore project work in evaluation, training, and rewards. When the PMO takes charge of developing professional, proactive managers, the process includes training, but begins with identifying PM competencies, hiring for or identifying those competencies in-house, creating performance metrics that reward PMs for the right behaviors, and creating a career path to attract and keep the best project performers.
For most companies, it takes five to seven years of investment to develop a competent team of in-house PMs. Organizations that don't have a proficiency in managing projects, or which don't have as many PMs as they need and don't want to incur the overhead to recruit and orient new employees, increasingly turn to outsourcing relationships. The entire organization should view the PMO as a source of experts with focused ability in project management. When another department in the enterprise wants to manage a project themselves, the PMO can provide expert assistance in the form of mentoring and coaching for the staff involved.
When a project needs additional oversight, a PMO mentor can help develop new estimates, resource reallocations, and replanning. This also provides an audit function for existing projects to determine how effectively the project management process is being utilized within the organization. Develop realistic role descriptions that spell out responsibilities. Job descriptions have a dual purpose: They both describe the ideal candidate for the job and can be used as a checklist when considering internal hires or seeking external candidates and they assist the person fulfilling the role in keeping focused on the right areas, in knowing when to say no, and in understanding how their job fits into the larger picture of the organization.
This information can also assist project participants in identifying their own personal professional development needs, in relation to the knowledge, skills, and competencies required for their project role s. One of the most pressing human resource problems facing project organizations today is the difficulty of communicating about the work that needs to be done due to a lack of consensus on the names, descriptions, or required backgrounds of jobs in project management.
Commonality in the language surrounding staffing projects helps avoid wasting the talents and time of precious human resources by putting the right people in the right positions Crawford and Cabanis-Brewin, Assess organizational capacity. Establishing the PMO as an organizational home for project management expertise helps to surface existing skills in project management and related specialties that are presently diffused across the organization. PMs actually report to the mature PMO and are deployed to projects either as full-time managers or on a part-time basis.
The PMO maintains a database of PMs and related personnel—their skill sets, capabilities, specialties, experience, and technical skills. A simple categorization structure, usually developed collaboratively by the PMO and the human resources function, facilitates resource allocation decisions across the organization. New projects can be staffed from this database, while PMs between full-time assignments work on special projects such as developing new processes, methodologies, techniques, templates, and capabilities.
Before starting to design and set up the PMO, you need to ensure that all stakeholders are cognitive of a the importance of the PMO b the role of the PMO and c what to expect from the PMO — what it will and will not do. One of the most useful tools is establishing the vision and strategy for the PMO.
The vision should be flexible, concise, and thoroughly describe what the final result will be. Involving as many stakeholders as possible in formulating the vision will warrant buy-in, commitment, and support. The strategy of the PMO must address the organization's key success factors. It must ensure the PMO is defined and structured to support and enhance the organization's current direction, while being agile enough to accommodate to future changes.
Many practitioners fall into the trap of wanting to set up a PMO that has a high degree of maturity, and then force the entire organization to change to accommodate it—a guaranteed path to failure. The use of a steering committee composed of representatives from various areas of the organization would help provide further alignment of the PMO with the organization's strategy, and ensure that it has the needed support at the highest levels from the onset.
The PMO's initial focus should be on the programs and projects that contribute the most to organizational strategic directives. Remember this is a pilot, so the goal is to make sure everything is working properly and make changes as needed. For a PMO to operate effectively, it requires that certain operational elements are in place. The PMO must be equipped with a comprehensive end-to-end solution that improves data collection, storage, access, analysis, and dissemination with sufficient roll-up as well as drilldown abilities while upholding project management rigor, methodology, governance, and discipline.
The PMO should have the ability to analyze and select software packages that best fit its requirements and those of the organization at large. Yet, the dilemma remains that the PMIS should serve the PMO and not the other way around—many PMOs have limited their ability to deliver to the capabilities of their software packages, falling into the common trap of being controlled by their PMIS and not the other way around.
A PMO of the nature, form, and role this paper is advocating is a significant change to any organization and its culture. There is a crucial need to ensure that the PMO and its operations are supported throughout the organization, not only at the management level. If they do not see the value in a PMO they are not going to support it, they PMOs need to get support from all directions, top-down and bottom-up, and really successful PMOs do both, they will look at how projects are reported and how it can influence decisions and the benefits realization to the organization and also how it can support project delivery, reducing the cost of project delivery, helping consistency of project delivery, and also taking the risk out of project delivery.
PMOs cannot be effective without this direct and regular involvement of senior management; unfortunately, many of them suffer the lack of executive involvement, especially in the Middle East. Before exploring the reasons why senior management engagement and support is crucial, it is important to highlight that the responsibility to secure such support lies with the PMO and not the other way around. The leadership of the PMO must be able to demonstrate value to the executive level of the organization.
Executive support is crucial to the success of the PMO because: a Executives are at the heart of the multi-project dilemma, their supportive engagement is key to resolving resource and priority conflicts. Jones, P. Project Management Institute. Newtown Square, PA: Author. Managing change in organizations: A practice guide.
PMO Handbook - How to Plan, Build, and Run a PMO
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View advertising policy. Learning Library. The PMO your key to strategy execution and results delivery. The PMO: your key to strategy execution and results delivery. What type of PMO can deliver strategy and results? This paper begins with a discussion of the different types and roles of the PMO, defining and explaining the advantages and disadvantages among its variants at the project, program, and portfolio levels. Taking a three-tiered approach to the forms PMOs take within an organization, the paper finds that the role of the PMO is evolutionary in that it operates at multiple levels, depending upon the maturity of an organization.
In outlining the requirements of designing and setting up a PMO, aligning and integrating the PMO within the organization, together with the required levels of responsibility, authority, and governance, the paper outlines what a PMO can and should do for an organization.
The Types and Roles of the PMO For the past fifteen years, the concept of PMO has been gaining popularity across multiple industries and types of organizations in different parts of the world. Exhibit 3 — Different types, levels, and spans of control of management offices. Exhibit 4 — Comparison among the 3 tiers of PMO. Exhibit 5 — Most common causes of PMO failure. Exhibit 6 — Traditional approach to strategic planning.
Exhibit 7 — Contemporary approach to strategic planning. Exhibit 8 — Strategy execution and change management moving towards the future state. Exhibit 10 — Tier-four PMO proposed functional structure. Exhibit 12 — PMO design, deployment, integration, and transition process. Risk management became, well, risky as we put in complicated matrices and more layers of process to manage the actions.
The intentions were good - a sound framework to enable projects to be delivered on time, on quality and to budget - and yet ironically, our methods were not. Too much time spent on telling the project manager what they should be filling in and inviting myself to meetings that I had no right to attend. Now, there will no doubt be those who are up in arms about my description of what bad looks like, usually because they recognise that this is exactly what they are doing now and this is my point finally or at least one of them.
Command and control ignores the most important part of project management, that is people who deliver projects, not the methods and processes we implement. Organisations continue to set up command and control PMOs, staffed by hard working people who in general not a rule have little in the way of actual project management experience or else have this experience but lack leadership skills.
The days of imposing a one-size-fits-all method on a project management function are gone, principally because there are so many of them out there these days — both waterfall and agile. Most of them ignore the necessary leadership skills required to get things done well. Even if you do want to introduce good practices into your organisation it has to be done collaboratively with those who will use them and have used them in the past. Similarly, any good or bad things from previous projects either in your organisation or others should be continuously incorporated into the framework and the PMO should facilitate this to get the best outcome for the organisation.
The PMO has to support the business of good project management and look for ways to increase output and outcome delivery whilst reducing the risk that your organisation faces as a result of project failure. For me, this is non-negotiable regardless of whether the PMO sits at a project, program or portfolio level. The information it provides to those involved in managing and governing projects has to be clear, concise there are some people still printing out huge folders of information and be focussed on the decisions required to remove roadblocks or resolve disagreements.
It also has to predict those things that might not be visible to them in terms of risks around funding, people, suppliers, dependent projects, economic factors and so on. Project managers - those people with the responsibility to deliver projects — should be supported at every turn by the PMO.