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Does Your Organization Need a Project Management Office (PMO)

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May 4, 2022
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6 minutes
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

You may have heard of a project manager, but have you ever considered having an entire department that comprises of highly experienced project managers and consultants?

More and more organizations, especially IT companies, are starting to build project management offices (PMOs) to ensure the creation of more efficient processes and monitoring projects from the beginning to the end.

In this article, we will discuss what a project management office is and what its functions are. Besides, you’ll learn about the different types of PMOs. By the end of this article, you will get a clearer picture of the benefits of engaging with a PMO and if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you’ll find out about the quickest way to build your own project management office.

What Is a Project Management Office (PMO)?

Simply put, a project management office is a department that defines and maintains high project management standards across the organization. A project management office creates and manages documentation related to the project and offers ongoing guidance to ensure that the project is moving in the right direction.

Many surveys have been conducted which prove that a vast majority of businesses have a project management office and the number is growing every year. The reason for this is that PMOs really come in handy when it comes to setting high standards in projects and using only time-tested processes that have worked in the past.

In the following, some traits of PMOs that are worth investing in:

1. Can provide real, measurable, and ongoing value to the business

Whether it's process optimization, preventing scope creep, or keeping the project on track, good PMOs continuously benefit businesses that they engage with.

2. Should be familiar with working with different project management methodologies

While working on any given project, sometimes, Agile is the right approach, and sometimes, especially in highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals and aviation, Waterfall is the only viable option. That’s why an ideal PMO must have personnel who are used to leveraging different types of project management methodologies and even creating a hybrid approach if necessary.

3. Can coach and train the staff to succeed in every project

Just having substantial project management experience or being good with different methodologies is not good enough. The PMO should also be able to impart this knowledge to the project team and prepare them for success. This requires experience in coaching and overseeing subordinates, which then ensures that best practices and standards are maintained throughout the project and any mistakes are rectified.

4. Can align project management with strategy

By integrating a balanced scorecard into project management, PMOs can help teams manage their projects by aligning project management with four key strategic perspectives: Financial, Customer, Internal Process, and Learning & Growth.

Apart from this, PMOs can also be of great help when it comes to conflict resolution, budget management, organizational knowledge base setup, continuous process optimization & improvement, creation of hiring plans, and workforce assessment.

The Three Different Types of PMO

Now that you have a basic understanding of PMOs and what their function is, let’s discuss the various types of project management offices.

1. Supportive PMO

When the maturity level of project portfolio management in an organization is low, it has to depend on the top performers to get the work done. This means that more people in an organization need to be trained in order to use relevant processes and best practices. This is when a supportive PMO comes into play. In this type of PMO, members of various project support organizations, share their experience and best practices so that newbies can become well-trained.

2. Controlling PMO

A controlling PMO ensures that the processes and standards set by them are being applied within the project. Unlike a supportive PMO, whose function is mainly knowledge-based, a controlling PMO has a moderate degree of control over the team. However, a controlling PMO also does what a supportive PMO does, namely providing knowledge and training to the team.

3. Directive PMO

As the name suggests, a directive PMO offers all the directions to the team and exercises a high degree of control, if not full control, over the project. In an engagement with a directive PMO, the project managers in the organization’s team have to write periodic reports and send them to the PMO to ensure that best practices are followed and a satisfactory level of consistency is maintained.

How to Tell if Your Organization Needs a Project Management Office

Still wondering whether or not your organization should engage with a PMO? Well, let’s make your decision a little easier. The following factors can be signs that you are in need of a project management office:

1. Your processes are not consistent throughout teams

Are different departments in your organization freestyling it or do they have a set process that is consistent with other departments? If your answer is “our processes are inconsistent”, then maybe it’s time to onboard a PMO. They can help you with setting standards, best practices, and processes, while also ensuring that the team is complying with the new standards and keeping the project on track.

2. Your projects are not aligned with your business strategy

What’s the use of undertaking a project if it’s not in tune with your business model and strategy? Firstly, it’s hard to tell which projects are worth undertaking and which ones should be scrapped from the get-go. PMOs can help you eliminate redundant projects, sort your project portfolio, and align the upcoming projects with your business strategy.

3. Your human resources are insufficient

In order to grow your organization and take it to the next level, you will need to undertake big projects. Nevertheless, to complete these projects on time, you will need a skilled team. A project management office, which has a team full of highly experienced project managers, can help you with everything from resource allocation and utilization to training and coaching. Thus, build a PMO, upskill your team, and upgrade your organization!

4. You don’t have a project management knowledge base

Have you noted down things that went wrong in the previous projects? Do you remember how the team fixed it? Are you documenting your current processes and procedures? A PMO is able to help you by offering templates and best practices that have worked in their previous successful projects. Furthermore, it can help you not to make mistakes by providing their knowledge and experience.

How PMO Consultants Can Help You

If you’re reading so far, it means that you are thinking about involving a project management office into your organization. Good choice!

Consequently, let’s understand how to build your own PMO:

In the beginning, you should define your goals behind creating a PMO. Don’t just involve a PMO because everyone else is doing that. Have your own ‘why’ behind it. That makes up for step one.

Then, you should decide exactly which type of PMO you need. We have already discussed three different types of PMOs and their functions previously in this article. Feel free to scroll back and read again.

Now, the final step is to contact a freelance consulting platform, like Consultport, and build your own A-team. Finding project management office (PMO) consultants through Consultport is very simple.

  • #1: Get in touch with our team and explain your project needs.
  • #2: Choose your favorite candidates from a pool of highly experienced experts.
  • #3: Start your project.

It’s that simple.

We have over 3,500 consultants in our talent network, and we only choose candidates who have worked with top consulting firms or blue-chip companies in the past. We will handle all the paperwork, so you can focus on your project.

If that sounds interesting, contact us now.