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PMO as a Mentor, Facilitator and Controller for Successful Projects

A PMO, also known as a Project Management Office or a Program Management Office is an entity that adopts, enforces and maintains standard methodologies and processes of project management within the organization.   A PMO would consist of people conversant with guidelines mentioned in the PMBOK® or PRINCE2 depending on the region where the services are required or incase the organization has a specific inclination towards adopting one of these practices. As per PMI's "Pulse of the Profession" - 2017 edition, the percentage of organizations with a PMO is witnessing an upward trend. The figure has skyrocketed from 61% in 2007 to 71% today. Also, organizations which have their PMOs aligned to the company's strategy report 38% more projects being successful and 33% fewer projects ending up as failures. What is a PMO? Every organization undertakes projects for some targeted benefits and the primary function of every PMO is to ensure that projects, programs and portfolios of the organization are streamlined towards achieving their strategic objectives. However, today's changing dynamics have led to PMOs assuming greater roles and responsibilities ranging from coaching to handholding & even directing projects towards successful deliveries.    Senior management expects the PMO to reach every nook & corner of the company's system and channelize all functional departments towards assisting favorable project outcome. An agile environment takes the concept of PMO to an entirely new level. It is expected that the PMO is in sync with market requirements, technology, existing & emerging competition and possesses capability & capacity to influence decision making at the higher most level. A PMO ensures that different verticals in an organization are guided and controlled in a similar fashion without any prejudice and that resources are utilized and shared effectively from within the common pool. In a traditional set up a PMO can be seen second line to project manager In a traditional set up a PMO can be seen: PMO Benefits PMO has umpteen benefits that help an organization deliver successful projects. Some important and pertinent ones are: Business Competence: PMOs assist in successful selection of projects that align with the organization strategy and goals. Successful execution & closure of beneficial projects leads to increase in profits. An agile PMO ensures that project selection is in line with the market sentiments and may even go ahead with postponing or dissolving projects that might hurt company's finances. Project Metrics Achievement: PMOs keep an eagle eye over metrics that define project success by ensuring successful delivery within PMI's triangle of scope, time and quality. Organizations benefit from PMOs abilities to quickly and effectively address gaps and timely closure of projects within schedule & budget. Constant Skill Upgrade: One of the important responsibilities of a PMO is to educate the organization and its project managers on project management skills. There is a constant stress on developing better communication/ managerial skills and train staff to embrace newer technologies thereby enabling them to deliver in an agile environment. Improved Stakeholder Collaboration and Communication Management: PMOs are responsible for streamlining communication & coordination between internal and external stakeholders of the organization. Ensuring clear and precise lateral & hierarchical communication between departments and resources facilitates better understanding of the objectives and improved productivity. Central Project Repository: PMOs are the custodian of historical database of the organization. They are responsible for continuously building a repository of past & present projects that are accessible and can be revisited every-time for reference and learning. This compendium strategically helps in project selection and risk mitigation as opportunities and threats of past projects are duly documented. Enhanced Risk Management Capabilities: PMOs ensure that project risks are managed, analyzed and mitigated before they pose a threat to project success. The ability to look well into the future and assess what may affect the project adversely is a primary benefit of having PMOs.  PMO Types PMO functions in different ways depending upon the degree of influence and extent of involvement required at the project. The same PMO can be a mentor on one project, a facilitator on another, while it can act as a project controller on the third. 1. PMO as a Mentor: Every individual benefits from a mentor, likewise every project can be steered towards successful completion if provided with the right guidance at the right time. A supportive PMO assists the project via consultation and by providing valuable inputs on best practices, past learning, templates, deliverables and training in the right direction. Projects in such an environment benefit from the expertise available, but the onus of utilizing this support lies entirely with the project manager. Organizations where projects are consistently delivering on the set targets, but lack a professional and streamlined approach can benefit from a PMO in a supporting role. 2. PMO as a Facilitator: A supporter and an enabler, this kind of a PMO ensures adherence to periodic project reviews, audits, compliance to standards and intensive reporting. By far this is the most important role large organizations expect their PMOs to play. Success in this situation can be largely attributed to a clear management mandate that PMO support and control over the project needs to be complied with. The project manager’s buy-in and the organization's willingness towards outright support for PMO proceedings is the key to successful delivery of projects in such cases. 3. PMO as a Controller: The controlling PMO is actually “in-charge” of the project. The PMO in this role directs the project and takes control of all aspects of the project. The PMO may loan out their project managers to take control of the project or the project manager directly reports to a PMO director and conforms to the professional expertise, experience and project management practices of the PMO in entirety. Such examples can be seen in cases wherein the project is unique in nature or when the risks involved & stakes are too high for that project. PMO Common Myths 1. PMO is Just another Auditor: PMO is often considered to be a reviewer and auditor of processes & practices prevalent in the organization. Generally this leads to a sense of insecurity amongst the employees and they end up not being forthcoming in reporting shortfalls. However, an efficient PMO is one which strives for project’s buy-in and ensures that they work hand in hand with the projects team supporting and assisting them in every way possible. Training projects on efficient ways, methodologies and essential software skills leads to greater knowledge sharing, acceptance and harmony among the stakeholders. 2. PMO is an Unnecessary Cost: Organizations where the culture of a PMO is new, often feel that the PMO team is a monitory burden with no tangible benefits. However, every process driven organization has a PMO team in place with benefits that clearly outweigh the costs involved. A PMO which is constituted from within the organization is cost effective and also beneficial as it is aware of the organization’s culture and conversant with the existing system of operation. PMO targets can easily be achieved by using basic project management software, and limited but efficient resources. As per the general trend any PMO department requires 3 to 6 months to realize their short term targets and at least 2 to 3 years for long term benefit realization. 3. PMO Uses Conventional Methodologies: PMOs no longer adopt traditional ways of working but make use of agile project management approaches. Good and efficient PMOs are tech savvy and aware of emerging technologies required for effective control and management of projects. Today PMOs are constantly evolving, can adapt to market dynamics/ product requirements and are beneficial at every stage of the project lifecycle. With projects getting bigger and complex, organizations are looking for ways to rein in the diversity and operate them under a single umbrella that adopts a regimented approach towards project monitoring and control, but also understand project peculiarities and directs them towards achieving organization goals.  PMO is definitely the answer and way forward.   

PMO as a Mentor, Facilitator and Controller for Successful Projects

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PMO as a Mentor, Facilitator and Controller for Successful Projects

A PMO, also known as a Project Management Office or a Program Management Office is an entity that adopts, enforces and maintains standard methodologies and processes of project management within the organization.  

A PMO would consist of people conversant with guidelines mentioned in the PMBOK® or PRINCE2 depending on the region where the services are required or incase the organization has a specific inclination towards adopting one of these practices. As per PMI's "Pulse of the Profession" - 2017 edition, the percentage of organizations with a PMO is witnessing an upward trend. The figure has skyrocketed from 61% in 2007 to 71% today. Also, organizations which have their PMOs aligned to the company's strategy report 38% more projects being successful and 33% fewer projects ending up as failures.

What is a PMO?


Every organization undertakes projects for some targeted benefits and the primary function of every PMO is to ensure that projects, programs and portfolios of the organization are streamlined towards achieving their strategic objectives. However, today's changing dynamics have led to PMOs assuming greater roles and responsibilities ranging from coaching to handholding & even directing projects towards successful deliveries. 

 

Senior management expects the PMO to reach every nook & corner of the company's system and channelize all functional departments towards assisting favorable project outcome. An agile environment takes the concept of PMO to an entirely new level. It is expected that the PMO is in sync with market requirements, technology, existing & emerging competition and possesses capability & capacity to influence decision making at the higher most level. A PMO ensures that different verticals in an organization are guided and controlled in a similar fashion without any prejudice and that resources are utilized and shared effectively from within the common pool. In a traditional set up a PMO can be seen second line to project manager

In a traditional set up a PMO can be seen:

PMO Benefits
PMO has umpteen benefits that help an organization deliver successful projects. Some important and pertinent ones are:

Business Competence: PMOs assist in successful selection of projects that align with the organization strategy and goals. Successful execution & closure of beneficial projects leads to increase in profits. An agile PMO ensures that project selection is in line with the market sentiments and may even go ahead with postponing or dissolving projects that might hurt company's finances.

Project Metrics Achievement: PMOs keep an eagle eye over metrics that define project success by ensuring successful delivery within PMI's triangle of scope, time and quality. Organizations benefit from PMOs abilities to quickly and effectively address gaps and timely closure of projects within schedule & budget.

Constant Skill Upgrade: One of the important responsibilities of a PMO is to educate the organization and its project managers on project management skills. There is a constant stress on developing better communication/ managerial skills and train staff to embrace newer technologies thereby enabling them to deliver in an agile environment.

Improved Stakeholder Collaboration and Communication Management: PMOs are responsible for streamlining communication & coordination between internal and external stakeholders of the organization. Ensuring clear and precise lateral & hierarchical communication between departments and resources facilitates better understanding of the objectives and improved productivity.

Central Project Repository: PMOs are the custodian of historical database of the organization. They are responsible for continuously building a repository of past & present projects that are accessible and can be revisited every-time for reference and learning. This compendium strategically helps in project selection and risk mitigation as opportunities and threats of past projects are duly documented.

Enhanced Risk Management Capabilities: PMOs ensure that project risks are managed, analyzed and mitigated before they pose a threat to project success. The ability to look well into the future and assess what may affect the project adversely is a primary benefit of having PMOs. 

PMO Types


PMO functions in different ways depending upon the degree of influence and extent of involvement required at the project. The same PMO can be a mentor on one project, a facilitator on another, while it can act as a project controller on the third.

1. PMO as a Mentor: Every individual benefits from a mentor, likewise every project can be steered towards successful completion if provided with the right guidance at the right time. A supportive PMO assists the project via consultation and by providing valuable inputs on best practices, past learning, templates, deliverables and training in the right direction. Projects in such an environment benefit from the expertise available, but the onus of utilizing this support lies entirely with the project manager. Organizations where projects are consistently delivering on the set targets, but lack a professional and streamlined approach can benefit from a PMO in a supporting role.

2. PMO as a Facilitator: A supporter and an enabler, this kind of a PMO ensures adherence to periodic project reviews, audits, compliance to standards and intensive reporting. By far this is the most important role large organizations expect their PMOs to play. Success in this situation can be largely attributed to a clear management mandate that PMO support and control over the project needs to be complied with. The project manager’s buy-in and the organization's willingness towards outright support for PMO proceedings is the key to successful delivery of projects in such cases.

3. PMO as a Controller: The controlling PMO is actually “in-charge” of the project. The PMO in this role directs the project and takes control of all aspects of the project. The PMO may loan out their project managers to take control of the project or the project manager directly reports to a PMO director and conforms to the professional expertise, experience and project management practices of the PMO in entirety. Such examples can be seen in cases wherein the project is unique in nature or when the risks involved & stakes are too high for that project.

PMO Common Myths

1. PMO is Just another Auditor: PMO is often considered to be a reviewer and auditor of processes & practices prevalent in the organization. Generally this leads to a sense of insecurity amongst the employees and they end up not being forthcoming in reporting shortfalls. However, an efficient PMO is one which strives for project’s buy-in and ensures that they work hand in hand with the projects team supporting and assisting them in every way possible. Training projects on efficient ways, methodologies and essential software skills leads to greater knowledge sharing, acceptance and harmony among the stakeholders.

2. PMO is an Unnecessary Cost: Organizations where the culture of a PMO is new, often feel that the PMO team is a monitory burden with no tangible benefits. However, every process driven organization has a PMO team in place with benefits that clearly outweigh the costs involved. A PMO which is constituted from within the organization is cost effective and also beneficial as it is aware of the organization’s culture and conversant with the existing system of operation. PMO targets can easily be achieved by using basic project management software, and limited but efficient resources. As per the general trend any PMO department requires 3 to 6 months to realize their short term targets and at least 2 to 3 years for long term benefit realization.

3. PMO Uses Conventional Methodologies: PMOs no longer adopt traditional ways of working but make use of agile project management approaches. Good and efficient PMOs are tech savvy and aware of emerging technologies required for effective control and management of projects. Today PMOs are constantly evolving, can adapt to market dynamics/ product requirements and are beneficial at every stage of the project lifecycle.

With projects getting bigger and complex, organizations are looking for ways to rein in the diversity and operate them under a single umbrella that adopts a regimented approach towards project monitoring and control, but also understand project peculiarities and directs them towards achieving organization goals.  PMO is definitely the answer and way forward. 
 

Siddarth

Siddarth Singh

Blog Author

Siddharth Singh is a project planner & controller with a renowned real estate developer. He is also a certified PMP professional with a Masters in Building engineering & management. He is passionate towards learning and imparting project management skills with special emphasis on the construction industry.

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This credential, an offering from the Scaled Agile, Inc., validates your product owner skills in delivering value by applying the principles of Lean to ensure Agile success at the enterprise scale, improving the Agile Release Train and ensuring customer satisfaction while improving bottom line margins.Considering that the Scaled Agile Framework is widely used in Agile organizations, there is a huge demand for SAFe POPM certified professionals, who can deliver continuous value at the enterprise level.Other benefits of the SAFe POPM certification include:Master key SAFe® product ownership/product management concepts like Lean Agile principles and valuesCollaborate with Agile teams to deliver valueMaster Program Increment PlanningOne-year membership to the SAFe Community PlatformOpen yourself upto new opportunitiesSAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (SPOPM) salary ranges from $83,865 to $124,613Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other Certified SAFe ProfessionalsTop industries hiring SAFe POPM professionalsBoschLockheed MartinPepsiCoAnthemCiscoStandard CharteredCapitalOneThalesFitBit  AstraZenecaSource: PayScaleWhere to take training for the SAFe POPM certification: The training must be taken from an authorized training partner of Scaled Agile, Inc. Who should take the training for SAFe POPM certification?This course can be taken by:Program or Project ManagersScrum MastersRelease Train EngineersBusiness AnalystsAgile CoachesSAFe Program ConsultantsDevelopment ManagersCTOsConsultantsArchitectsEngineersDirectorsProduct ManagersProduct OwnersDelivery ManagersSolution Train EngineersSoftware DevelopersWho is eligible for the SAFe POPM certification?The SAFe POPM requires the following eligibility:Two-day training from an authorized training provider of Scaled Agile Inc. Experience in Lean and AgileDuration to get certified: Once you complete the mandatory 2-day training you can set a date to take the 1.5 hrs SAFe POPM exam. On passing the exam, you become a Certified SAFe® 5 Product Owner / Product Manager. You will receive your SAFe®️ 5 Product Owner / Product Manager PDF Certificate and Digital Badge within 5-7 working days.Course fee for SAFe POPM certificationThe course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 55999  U.S.: USD 1099Canada: CAD 1395Exam fee for SAFe POPM: First exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion.SAFe POPM Exam DetailsExam Type: Closed book Format: Multiple choice, multiple response Difficulty: Intermediate Time limit: 1.5 hours Number of Questions: 45 Passing score: POPM4 = 35 out of 45 (77%); POPM5 = 33 out of 45 (73%)Retake fee for SAFe POPM Exam: Each retake costs $50Renewal for SAFe POPM certification: SAFe POPM needs to be renewed each year by paying a $100 fee and earning a minimum of 10 continuing education/outreach hours (PDUs).SummaryProduct Owners are the rock stars of an Agile team—confident, articulate, sharp, great communicators and problem solvers! A solid Product Owner certification along with these qualities can give your career a total makeover and make you a team favourite. 
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Best Product Owner Certifications in 2021

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SAFe® Agilist Certification Vs PMI-ACP®: Which Certification Should You Choose?

The competition for jobs is getting tough in today’s world. Whether you are a job seeker, corporate employee, or a consultant, you should keep your skills up to date in a fast-paced, online world. Agile has become the standard of project management very fast in today’s world, specifically in the IT and service field. Most of the project management professionals have adopted Agile techniques, tools, and concepts to deliver the projects successfully that has never been seen before.If you want to make a career in Agile or want to make a career shift then Agile certification can be an added advantage. You might be in confusion as to which certification you should do, as there are different types of Agile certifications available. SAFe® Agilist and PMI-ACP® are the two most in-demand IT certifications today that will increase your career growth and salary.  In this post, we will discuss both the certifications and help to choose a career that best suits you.SAFe® AgilistLarger organizations are struggling with Agile, especially the well-established enterprises who are trying to adopt Agile and shift their way of doing things. SAFe® is one such example that provides best practices for adopting Agile at an organizational level and SAFe® certification covers every aspect of Agile from architecture, governance, funding, integration, and roles. Holding a SAFe® certification proves your proficiency and hands-on experience and shows your knowledge and skills in real-time implementations.SAFe® Agilist could be a perfect choice for you if you want to be part of different teams in the adoption of SAFe® and willing to be part of enterprise Agile. Scaled Agile is something different to standard Agile knowledge which is required for Agile change agents, managers, and executives for leading a lean-agile change initiative in large-scale enterprises. This is also essential for those executives who have already implemented Agile principles and practices at small-scale enterprises and now want to take it to the next level.Leaders of Lean-Agile change initiative can learn how to build a Lean-Agile Mindset and implement the SAFe® principles and practices to support Agile Teams, Program Portfolio Management, and Teams from this SAFe® 4 Agilist (SA) course. SAFe® Agilist certification demonstrates your efficiency of leading the Scaled Agile Framework adoption in an enterprise context.PMI-ACPPMI-ACP® certification could be an ideal choice for those who have been applying Agile values and principles in their day-to-day project work and who want to shift to a leadership role. To apply for  the PMI-ACP® certification, applicants must have at least 2,000 hours of working experience on project teams and 1,500 hours of working experience with Agile methodologies or on Agile project teams. Applicants should also complete 21 hours of Agile training and need to pass the exam.The PMI-ACP® is close to the mid-level CSP that is offered by the Scrum Alliance. Enterprises that are shifting to an Agile context and applying different Agile techniques are more interested in recruiting individuals with PMI-ACP® certification.PMI-ACP® could be a right choice if your enterprise is looking forward to adopting Agile framework in order to achieve high-end project goals. It not only covers Scrum framework but also includes XP, Kanban, Lean, and other frameworks. The PMI-ACP® certification exam is more difficult when compared to the basic Scrum Master certifications and individuals must take online or classroom training before going to attempt the exam.Let’s see the key differences between SAFe® Agilist and PMI-ACP®:It is important to look at the career opportunities before selecting the particular course. Think of various factors such as job security, responsibility, stress, income, and other benefits while choosing a profession.Just choosing a certification that is best for you doesn’t lead to the success you deserve. Choosing the best training provider will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of a course. Compare course outlines of different institutes and find the best training provider that will guide you in the right direction of the particular course chosen. You can also visit the institutes and attend some of the demo sessions to understand their approach to training. KnowledgeHut is a Registered Education Provider and offers both SAFe® Agilist and PMI-ACP® training classes across the country by experts who have years of industry experience.
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SAFe® Agilist Certification Vs PMI-ACP®: W...

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