Launching a Project Management Office: Initiation
In a previous article, I outlined a five-step approach to launching a successful project management office in your organization.
Following the proposed cycle, the first step focuses on assessing the current status of projects in your organization before creating a PMO strategy. Next, it’s time to move into the initiation phase. Below is a practical walkthrough of four key actions to follow during this phase.
4 Key Activities for Project Management Office Initiation
Treat the initiation of your PMO as a project and work on the elements typically associated with a project – getting a sponsor, having a project charter, a roadmap, decide on the scope, and so on.
1. Create a business case and the PMO charter
One of the first things you should do is create a business case for the PMO. The business case explains why such a project is needed and outlines the expected business value.
It’s also important to have a project charter, a document outlining the objective of the project, a provisional timeline, and required resources.
The team should be very familiar with the charter, so make it easy to access! In BrightWork, for example, you could house this information in the Project Statement.
In the screenshot below, the project charter is a SharePoint list, that opens up to a form.
Types of information to capture include:
- Project Description – what you are trying to achieve
- Who is the Project Sponsor and the Business Sponsor
- The type of project
- Project Status
- Start and Due dates
- Project Scope
The image above has a few ideas for Assumptions. They can be things like: “will continue to have executive buy-in.” There can be politics in some organizations, so you the sponsor on your side throughout the project. And assumptions can be related to budgets, for example, “Planned funding will be available throughout the project”.
2. Determine the PMO services scope
Project scope is particularly important to something like a PMO because it can become so popular, everybody wants to get their hands on it!
You may not think that at the beginning, but as you become successful with project management, more and more people and departments will want to put their projects into your court.
At the outset, be very explicit when establishing the initial project scope and further phases. During the fourth stage of launching your PMO, your team will begin to move projects into their ownership. It’s important to identify the right projects now to make the penultimate stage more successful.
3. Create a PMO services roadmap
Related to the Project Scope is the PMO services roadmap. Decide on what services the PMO will offer at the start, and how and when you’ll gradually roll out more services to more people. The roadmap should include items like project management training and templates for the organization, as well as your change management plan.
4. Gain approval and proceed to the next phase
And as you did in step 1, you’ll again want to get sign off to go ahead to the next phase in the cycle.
Launching a Project Management Office
This article is part of a four-part series, which looks at how to establish a successful PMO. If you want to jump to another part of the process, just follow the links below:
- Launching a Project Management Office: Assessment and Strategy
- Launching a Project Management Office: Establish and Evolve
- Launching a Project Management Office: Implementation and Improvement
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Billy is a graduate of the Villanova School of Business and holds a Master’s degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. Outside of BrightWork, he enjoys reading, trying to golf, and walking his pug named Nova.