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The benefits of a Project Management Office

In this post, I would like to discuss some relevant aspects regarding what is known as PMO, or Project Management Office. I wanted to highlight what it is specifically, and what it can contribute to us at an organizational level if we decide to implement one.

In reality, the first need arises from General Management: a medium and long-term strategy is established (with much effort and analysis), which to materialize requires a series of steps (projects) to achieve. Do we really have the helm of our organization, that is, are the current projects the best to direct us on the right path?

To help close the gap between the strategic vision of the company, and the implementation “in the trenches”, many organizations are choosing to implement a Project Management Office.

A PMO is a group of people with the mission of supporting the project manager in the launch, implementation, and completion of projects. Some PMOs are minimal, with only part-time staff, and others may involve huge infrastructures, with rigid methodologies and control. We can already describe some of its characteristics:

– The PMO is an organizational body created to assist project managers in achieving project objectives.
– It provides an opportunity for project managers to develop more quickly, relative to working alone.
– The PMO is a centralized organization dedicated to improving project management practice and results.

A PMO centralizes and coordinates the management of projects under its domain. “An organizational unit to centralize and coordinate the management of projects under its domain. A PMO oversees the management of projects, programs, or a combination of both. In fact, a PMO must be able to assist Senior Management with the execution of the strategy, as determined by the project portfolio. Regarding its specific functions, depending on the organization and the sector we find differences, as we will explain below. What is common is that it essentially centralizes and coordinates project management.

It is possible to improve the rate of successful projects, as well as those delivered under budget, and meeting milestones. For large projects it represents a very considerable saving per project, and also results in greater customer satisfaction and productivity improvements. Roles and responsibilities of the PMO.

We can find different types of functions or responsibilities in a PMO, depending on the industry and the type of projects. We see that they are undoubtedly led by the establishment and control of the project management methodology. We also find control, training, coaching, and mentoring functions of Project Managers, as well as coordination in a multi-project environment.

Implementation of a PMO Not all Organizations launch a PMO formally, due to budgetary restrictions or due to high-cost considerations. Even so, as we said, a PMO can be understood as functions with part-time staff, in a small company, or in large structures in the case of multinationals (banking for example). When establishing this PMO, the following must be borne in mind:

– The value of the PMO must be measurable to be sustainable.
– If it cannot be measured, it cannot be controlled and therefore managed.
– The PMO must be aligned with the interests and goals of the organization to survive.

In short, it must have Senior Management as its main client, although its definition theoretically focuses on Project Managers. Senior management will support the PMO that increases the probability of achieving its objectives. The PMO must provide several processes to top management:

– Choosing the right mix of projects: a tool for strategic planning.
– Link executive strategies with ongoing and future projects.
– Manage the project portfolio correctly.
– Improve the results of projects that are aligned with the strategic objectives of the company.

Thus, based on these considerations, we can conclude with the main guidelines or success factors in the implementation of a PMO:

– Define quantifiable measures to demonstrate that it has been met.
– Define a realistic time to observe results.
– Make sure the PMO has the necessary resources.
– Establish credibility throughout the organization.
– Have good Project Managers.

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