Project Management Office, popularly referred as PMO, is a central office in an organization, which is created to add more value and efficiency to the on-going projects and programs. Project Management Office, when created, can be entrusted with various responsibilities, which are aimed at helping the project and program teams to manage them better.
Project Management Office becomes the central office and entity which will be responsible for creating the project management methodologies, processes, procedures, guidelines and various templates to be used by the project teams. PMO selects the applicable project management best practices those need to be followed and used across the organization. PMO also takes up additional responsibilities to provide all these knowledge to any project teams which will need them. PMO also maintains the knowledge repository with all the above mentioned information along with the historical information of all past projects. PMO also maintains the lessons learnt database and ensures that new lessons are seamlessly peculated across the organization. When it comes to preparing for PMP exam, a PMP exam prep course is incomplete without session on PMO.
Project Management Office is meant to help improve efficiency and help ensure greater values from projects are realized. The investment in setting up a PMO is expected to help organizations to reap the below benefits:
Setting up a PMO to centralise some of the above mentioned functions, requires investment. Hence the organization needs to evaluate and create enough business justification for setting up a PMO. Once decided, a PMO can be set up in three different flavours as below:
A supportive PMO is the one which exists to provide the required services, when they are asked. The project teams can reach out the PMO for various services and information related to project management methodologies and historical information on past projects. This kind of PMO never interferes and enforces any of these ideas to any project teams.
A controlling PMO will be empowered to exercise some control over the project teams ensuring that they are actually complying with the mandated project management best practices. This kind of PMO will audit the project teams to check the level of compliance to the recommended project management methodologies. This in turn, helps the enterprise by ensuring a higher level of conformance by the project teams to the best practices of project management, thereby improving the chances of their success.
A directing PMO will be somewhat more empowered. They can go one step beyond the controlling PMO and they can force the project teams to do the right things in the project. The PMO ensures strict compliance to the standards is maintained. Strict project reporting is being practiced.
Setting up a PMO in an organization is a strategic decision to be taken by senior management. Cost of setting up and running PMO must be more than the benefits it will deliver. There must be a clear justification and a business case the same. The senior management must support the PMO function to make the PMO a successful one. A successful PMO will surely bring about immense benefits to the organizations in the form of increased efficiency to project execution. PMO can act as the centre of excellence for project management across the enterprise.
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