Why A PMO Is Second In Line To A Project Manager ?

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14th Mar, 2023
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Why A PMO Is Second In Line To A Project Manager ?

With the dynamically changing world of Information Technology, the change in Project Management is inevitable. A time when regulations and economies are constantly reshaping, companies are trying to catch up and transform their business strategies according to the latest trend in the market. Although a significant number of Project Management offices had been shut down by various companies in 2012, a lot has changed since then. PMO has become a significant part of Project Management.

As per PMI, “Between 2010 and 2020, 15.7 million new project management roles will be created globally across seven project-intensive industries.” This high statistic cannot be entirely based on the jobs estimated for Project Manager. Project Management jobs involve all sorts of Project Management role amidst which a PMO comes with its own significance. An in-depth understanding of the PMO can be achieved through a PMP certificate.  

Know more about project description.

Project Management Offices are set up as per the requirement of the companies. The current types that distinguish various types of PMO can be classified as
- Individual Project Office for a large project
-  A project has a dedicated PMO, Central Multi-Project Management Office,(PMO)
- The PMO handles more than one project and Strategic Project Management Office (SPMO)
- A Project Management Office where the PMO plays different roles depending on the requirement of the company.

 As mentioned earlier a PMO’s role is as essential as a PMO. A PMO knows the project and understands its pre-requisite as much as a manager and thus its place is second to a Project Manager in an organization following the PMO set up.  

1.  With growing complexity in program management project controlling needs to be intensified. The PMO which is the prime interface between the projects – becomes the central hub of the enterprise. It manages the allocation of resources to the individual projects. It ensures a trouble-free project communication between all parties involved. If the PMO undergoes an upgrade of competencies and responsibilities, an increased amount of work is the necessary consequence.

2. Project Management Office is not a one-man army anymore. We have PMOs to assist and provide all the assistance required to ensure a successful delivery of a single project or multiple projects at the same time. As per a survey conducted by The Project Group in a Webinar held in 2016. A question had been put up in front of the audience - “Why is the PMO important?”. The answers provided were as follows-

77% = Methods and Processes

68% = Project Services

55% = Project Portfolio Controlling

47% = Training and Coaching

26% = Strategic Project Management.  

This defines the approach the managers are taking these days to get support and help while delivering projects efficiently. All the mentioned tasks are a part of a PMO’s responsibility

3.  In most of the organizations with well set up Project Management Offices, a PMO is the first point of contact for the Project Team members. This does not signify that the Project Manager in unapproachable but the fact that a PMO is first to hear the grievances of the team and take it up with the PM and find a solution. This speaks a lot about the significance of the PMO. But of course, this goes for organizations that follow the PMO regime.

4.   A great topic of debate has been the role of a PMO in contributing to the delivery of a project. To me, it is as significant and dependable as a Project Manager. In order to rationalize the argument, we can take a look at the responsibilities of a PMO as given below -
·   Coordination -  Managing the resources demand, their efforts, and billing. Coordination also involves a lot of follow up and relevant communication within and outside the team.
·   Regulation – Supporting the project management processes. In cases where the project follows a certain framework, the alignment is PMO’s responsibility.
·   Governance – What stage has the project reached? Is the project successful in meeting the time lines set? Are all the evidence and sign off in place?
·   Finance and resource management – The handling of project budget, tracking and reconciliation is another job for a PMO.
·   Support by the PMO (no ticket open longer than agreed?)
·   Establishment and documentation of the method (documentation complete and available?) 

These simple yet relevant tasks define the role of a PMO. It was all a project managers job around a decade back, but now the times have changed.

5. The drastic change in Project Management methodology does not ensure that the N number of projects undertaken by various companies can be handled by the same strategy every time. A project manager is an individual that has expertise in the project that he undertakes the delivery of. In scenarios where the solution provided is not stable a project manager is required intervene. He needs to ensure a quality delivery but while all this is a PMs head ache who will take care of the lower end responsibilities of a PM. For situations like these, we have PMOs.

6. As per the new PMO trend, the PMOs are being assigned to handle programs. The roles will thus change. There will be more strategic contributions from PMOs. The most important thing for them to learn will prioritize the projects as well as their tasks.

The future of Project Management Office (PMO) in terms of the business hierarchy is closer to the management and executives. PMO is soon to become the central enterprise of most of the organizations. The projects are growing in complexity and to manage this a higher coordination is what is required. Since the projects are more cross—functional and globalized the support of a project take a back seat. To deal with this we have a PMO standing beside a project manager building an example of a great team spirit.

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Isha Shukla

Blog Author

Isha Shukla is working as a PMO at Accenture Solutions India Pvt Ltd. She has 4 years of experience in project management support and has already found herself a remarkable position in all the project management associated domains.

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