Let’s start at the very top. If you’ve never heard of it before, PMO is an acronym for project management office. And project management office is a specific part of your organization that’s responsible for deciding what project management really is. That may sound a little bit strange. If you’ve been working in project management for a long time without this office you may wonder why it’s even important or how it really even works.
So, to make it a little more clear, this office is a separate department within your business. Just like you have an accounting department and a marketing department you would have a project management department. This group is responsible for creating a better understanding of just what project management means for your business. They look at the standards that surround project management for your business and then make sure those standards are always met.
Basically, they’re responsible for making sure that tasks and projects are carried out the way that they should be. They may help you understand more about projects when you’re creating the plans around them or they may layout the ground rules for exactly what you need to do in order to follow company rules and regulations.
Now that you know what this office or department is all about, you might be wondering just why it’s so important for them to even exist. Why do you need a department to manage your projects? After all, that’s your job as the project manager, right? You take care of planning things out and making sure everything is done properly. But having a separate group responsible for the general rules and regulations can be an important part of the process.
The project management office can be a little more than just the regulatory group for your projects. They can also be responsible for helping you every step of the way while you’re executing a project. So, they can help you facilitate the project that you’re working with. They might even take over running projects or portfolio management for your entire team. They may be responsible for monitoring the different projects that are running within your business and compiling reports about the status of each.
Even more than that, they could help you to receive the support that you need in order to execute your projects. The more you want them to take charge of the more they can be allowed to work on. In general, the more that you open up their responsibilities and their control the less you’re going to have to worry about projects and the more centralized the process is going to be. Also, it’s going to make sure that all of your projects are following the same system each time you execute them. This can make your team more efficient in project execution.
So, by the time the project management office is done with a project they’ve helped you to make the right decisions and get those decisions from the people who need to make them (whether that’s you or the higher-ups). They also make sure any audits are completed and everyone is held accountable. Next, they also make sure that everyone who needs to know what’s going on does and that all of the important aspects of any project are fully transparent. This helps to make everyone feel like they are being heard and understood in the right ways.
They are the ones who make sure that a system is in place and that everyone knows what that system is. That way, the next time you need to carry out a project you already know how to go about it. They’ve already designed everything and laid it out to make it easy for you. This is also a great place to execute your Gantt chart. Creating a template chart will allow you to fill in specifics and start filling in individual people and dates as you go without having to start from scratch every time.
From there, they make sure that anyone who needs help is directed to that help quickly and efficiently so the project doesn’t suffer. They may find ways to get mentoring or training for some of the people on the team (or the entire team when they’re first getting started). And they make sure that the project is completed properly, executing the right level of quality control and then making sure everything is documented and organized so it can be recovered as needed.
Are you ready to set up your own project management office but you’re just not sure how to do it? Well, it’s actually not as difficult as you might think. You’re going to need some authority in your office because you’ll be bringing in new people or reallocating some of the people that are already on your teams. But the process of getting them ready to start taking on these duties is actually going to be a lot simpler than you might think and it’s going to make things a whole lot easier for everyone involved when you’re done.
Consider this process very similar to the project management that they’re going to be in charge of when you’re finished. You want to make sure that you are going through all of the steps necessary to choose the right people for this team and to make sure that they know what they’re going to be responsible for at the time they are finally in charge. After all, setting up a PMO that can’t do anything or doesn’t know how to do anything is definitely not going to help you with anything.
First up, make sure you know exactly what is going on in your company that the project management office would be in charge of. What types of projects are you working on right now? How are those projects doing? What is everyone responsible for? If you already have Gantt charts for these projects you’re going to be ahead of the curve and you’re going to be more than ready to transfer that information over to a single entity or group to take charge of.
Next up, you’re going to need to look at just who is going to be responsible for the project management office and who the project management office is responsible for. Layout the ground rules that they need to follow and what the organization is even responsible for. You need to make sure that anyone on this team knows exactly what their job is. They need to know if they are just enacting current rules and regulations or if they have the power to create their own (as an example).
Maybe they’re responsible for helping with training or helping with managing the entire project from beginning to end. Or maybe you just want them to make sure that policies are followed. You and your organization need to make the rules for this team before you start putting people into it. If they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing it’s only going to cause trouble for them and everyone else in your company who doesn’t understand what they’re there for.
Finally, put it into place. You need to bring in people for this group or team. You need to make sure that you’ve trained them properly so that they can actually execute all of their tasks and they know what’s involved. They need to know everything possible about their job before anyone else knows that they’re actually there. If they need to start answering questions or helping others before they know how to do so it’s only going to cause problems for them, and that’s definitely not what you want.
Once everyone on the team knows what they’re doing and how they need to do it it’s going to be time for them to be introduced to the rest of the team. Start explaining to everyone else in the organization who these people are and what this new department is. You want everyone to know what they’re going to do and why they’re an important new part of the team. The smoother you make the transition to using a project management team to their full potential the better it’s going to be for everyone. That’s why you need to introduce what’s changing and what isn’t.
Make sure that everyone in your organization is comfortable with the new way that things are going. You want everyone to understand the rules, the regulations, the process and anything else related to project management. If you are only going to have your project management team take on a few roles, to begin with then lay that out. Also, make sure you explain anything that’s still going to change. If the new department is starting out with a limited role but will be gaining additional roles over time make sure that you express this to everyone in the organization. And make sure to keep them posted along the way.
When it comes to actually implement the process and putting your PMO to work you’ll absolutely start seeing differences and improvements in your company. Centralizing this process can make it easier for everyone to know what’s going on at any given time. Not only that but it can make sure that all of your projects are carried out in exactly the same way every time. All you’re going to need now is a software system that will help you keep track of all of those projects your PMO’s are responsible for.
Gantt charts are a great way for you and your PMO to keep track of everything that they need to do. With this type of chart they can create a separate sheet for each of the projects they’re monitoring and they can create individual tasks within each of those projects. This allows them to keep track of each piece of the puzzle that needs to be completed as well as who is responsible for it when it needs to be done and what else might be dependent upon it getting done. With these charts, everyone can keep track of what’s going on in individual projects far easier.
Setting up these charts is a snap whether you’re the project manager for a single project or you’re going to be heading up the PMO and need to manage several. Each of these charts will make it easier to keep track of everything that’s going on around you, which is the entire point of the PMO, after all. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to start a PMO at your company? And start putting together the Gantt charts you need to keep things on track or are you going to keep things going the same old way they always have before? If you’re looking at implementing a PMO in your organization, or if you’ve ever thought about it before, they can make a huge difference. If you’ve never even considered a PMO or known just what it is that they do, hopefully now you have a stronger understanding and you’re ready to start the process of putting one into place in your place of business. There’s no reason that you can’t start a new department, especially one that’s going to make things so much easier and more efficient in your organization.