Launching a Project Management Office: Assessment and Strategy
A project management office (PMO) is typically responsible for designing and implementing a standardized approach to project management within an organization.
In doing so, the PMO helps organizations to realize significant business value from successful projects, which are aligned to critical strategic goals.
Whilst no two PMOs are the same, we have put together a five-step process to help you launch your PMO.
At a high level, you start by assessing your current situation. Then design and develop the PMO and start to implement your plan in a phased manner. During the final phase, seek opportunities for continuous improvement.
Let’s start with the first step, PMO Assessment and Strategy.
4 Key Steps for PMO Assessment and Strategy
The first stage of “PMO Assessment and Strategy” can be broken into four sub-steps.
1. Assess current status of project management and the portfolio
As the saying goes… “You have to know where you are before you know where you’re going.” So before you start establishing the PMO, figure out the current state of project management in your organization.
You need to understand what projects are in-flight and how these projects are running; what projects are in the backlog, and how projects are managed across departments. It’s also helpful to understand obstacles to project success, such as a lack of templates or poor training.
During this phase, try to identify and engage a project sponsor who shares your vision. Having this support early on will make it easier to overcome challenges in later phases.
2. Develop desired future state
Once you have assessed your current, “as-is” state, take some time and as a team decide what you want and need out of the PMO.
Do you need new software, better templates, or more in-house training? Do you want to implement a standard approach throughout the organization? Perhaps you want to increase project success rates by a certain percentage year on year?
Develop the desired future state – and document it.
3. Perform gap analysis between current and future states
Having completed Steps 1 and 2, move into strategy.
Here, carry out a gap analysis between the current and desired future states. Essentially, you need to know where you are now, where you want to be, and how you are going to get there.
This analysis will direct what processes you need to introduce to your organization, and also surface some “quick wins” that will energize the team and bolster your efforts.
This step will help you to determine the kinds of resources you need – budget, technology, or people.
4. Gain approval to proceed to the next phase
Finally, share your ideas with the project sponsor for approval, and move to the next step – PMO Initiation.
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: Initiation
- 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