FOUR EASY STEPS TO BUILD EFFECTIVE PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE FROM SCRATCH
When building a project-oriented management system in a company, it becomes important to create a Project Management Office (Project Management Office, PMO, Project Management Office). Project Management Office is a division responsible for the methodological and organizational support of project management in an organization, planning and monitoring a project portfolio, implementing and developing an information system for planning and monitoring projects, generating consolidated reporting on programs/projects.
Project Management Office Functions
There are different classifications of Project Management Offices according to the types of functions they perform, but none of them is ideal. It is better to separate PMO functions into basic and advanced. All Project Management Offices use basic functions; the advanced ones are selected depending on the tasks assigned to the PMO.
- Development and implementation of project management methodologies and monitoring compliance with project management methodologies
- Formation of the register of projects and the summary reporting on projects
- Assistance in planning and monitoring the implementation of individual projects on request or an ongoing basis
- Extended features:
- Ensuring the work of the project committee (if established in the organization/division)
- Centralized allocation of project managers or administrators (if it is decided to maintain them not in functional units)
- Selection, implementation, support, and development of an information system for planning and monitoring projects (if it is needed)
- Implementation and support of incentives for participants in project activities (if the task is not assigned to the personnel department)
- Organization of project management training or direct training (if it is not the personnel department responsible for the task)
- Project audit (can also be carried out by the internal audit service)
- Knowledge management in the field of project management (collection, analysis, synthesis and dissemination of knowledge between participants of project activities)
- Portfolio management (control over the compliance of projects with the strategy of an organization/division, ensuring the formation of a portfolio of projects, it’s balancing, and monitoring)
Levels of Project Management Offices in an Organization
In addition to the division of functions into basic and advanced, PMOs differ in levels of management in an organization. There are three levels of PMO:
- Organization level: at the organization level, a central Project Management Office is created – a division organizing planning and control of project activities, methodological and administrative support, development of project-oriented management system in the organization, portfolio management, management of individual cross-functional projects and programs. At this stage you most definitely will need a tool for project planning ad a tool for time and result tracking. For example, a combo of Microsoft Planner and PPM Express Time will fit nicely. Planner allows to create a vibrant yet transparent plan for every team and\or project, while PPM Express time, by aggregating the data from Planner and any other tool your team uses, to create an accurate timeline.
- The subdivision level: at the subdivision level, a functional Project Management Office is created. The unit responsible for the functions listed above for the central Project Management Office only for a specific functional unit. A functional Project Management Office is created quite often in the IT block and the block of capital projects, less often in other divisions. If there is a central Project Management Office, the general methodological tasks are excluded from the functions of a functional Project Management Office, although methodological tasks related to the specifics of projects and a functional Project Management Office may remain (for example, IT projects and construction projects have their life cycle and documents). At this stage PMO most definitely needs a complete PPM solution, that allows inner visibility, one-point-access to all the data. PPM Express suits these needs implacably – even if every team is working with a different tool to track and manage your projects (like Trello, Planner, Azure DevOps, Asana etc.) all the progress data is visible in PPM Express dashboard in real-time.
- The level of the project: at the level of large programs/projects is also created its own Project Management Offices. Their functionality is usually even narrower than for a functional Project Management Office and is aimed at the specifics of the project. Here you most definitely will find a time tracking app extremely useful. However, PPM Express will also be useful, because you can not just get the “big picture” but “dig into” details of every individual project you’re tracking.
The Composition of the Project Management Office
In the organizational structure of a company, the position of the head of the Project Management Office is usually determined at the level of the deputy’s head or director of the department. The Project Management Office is an example of the organizational structure.
The composition of the PMO may include the following roles (depending on the tasks performed):
- Planning manager
- Reporting manager
- Project committee administrator
- Project manager
- Admin / coordinator / project supervisor
- The functional administrator of the project management information system
- The administrator of the incentive system for project participants
- Training manager
- Portfolio management specialist
- Resource allocation specialist (between projects in a portfolio)
When creating a Project Management Office, a team of 2-3 people is usually formed: a manager, a methodologist, a planning and reporting specialist. Further development of the PMO depends on the goals and objectives.
Steps to Take
Although short-term goals are set in the first stage, long-term decisions must also be made, and preparatory steps are taken to lay the foundation for solving broader, more complex issues. Long-term decisions should be aimed at improving the maturity of project management, which in the long run will affect the receipt of strategic benefits and will provide the expected time frame for the implementation of your market initiatives not just once, but again and again, thanks to the repeatability of processes. To achieve this, you offer a four-step approach:
- Stage I: Foundation laying
- Stage II: The launch of short-term events
- Stage III: Deploying Durable Solutions
- Stage IV: Support and Improvement
Stage I – Foundation Laying
At this stage, you set the boundaries of the Project Management Office and determine the actual tasks and long-term goals. As a rule, you start by assessing your current capabilities, goals, and objectives. Determining the degree of maturity of your company in project management shows the place of project management in the company and helps in planning future tasks and actions. Several meetings of key project participants and subject experts are held to identify current opportunities, challenges, issues, and challenges. Based on these discussions, a review report is created covering the current state and vision of the future, as well as an improvement plan with recommended short-term measures and long-term solutions.
After developing an overall improvement plan, you define the functions and staffing structure of the Project Management Office, determine the categories of project participants (including key managers, internal training programs, and pilot projects) and prepare an interaction strategy. This stage ends when the Project Management Office receives a signal to go to funding, and the necessary personnel is recruited.
Stage II – Run Short-Term Processes
At this stage, you start the work of the Project Management Office, organize the implementation of short-term activities, and start supporting projects. The launch of the Project Management Office includes the selection of personnel for the immediate tasks, the organization of interaction, and informing the organization about the Project Management Office and its responsibilities.
Two actions should demonstrate an immediate return from the Project Management Office in your company: short-term events and project support. Short-term events are solutions to current problems and issues that have arisen for the main participants. They can be completed fairly quickly, and at the same time, they concern about the key problems of the organization. It can be:
- Inventory your projects (new product development, information technology, business expansion, etc.)
- Implementation of project management methodology
- Reporting and counting
- Project Reviews
- Support for new projects and projects in crisis
- Project Planning and Control Meetings
- Identify and launch one or more pilot projects
Along with such short-term initiatives, projects should also be supervised. Project management is a great way to bring real value to projects that are in their infancy or needing support without waiting for the creation of a formal training program or process deployment. Stage II ends when all short-term initiatives and events are launched, and the team is ready to fully devote themselves to the long-term solutions launched in Stage I.
Stage III – Deploying Durable Solutions
An organization receives increasing benefits as it improves its project management skills. The main objective of Stage III is to improve and accelerate processes, staff training, and organization of a stable support system necessary for successful project management. At this stage, we develop long-term solutions, continue with project management activities, as a rule, conduct additional pilot tests, and gradually deploy the full-fledged work of the Project Management Office. Examples of key success factors include:
- Methodology/process setup and ongoing development
- Development of training programs
- Development of detailed reports/scorecards
- Resource management
- Tool implementation
- Career opportunities and certification programs for project managers
- Project Portfolio Management
- Organizational change and development planning.
All of the above takes time to develop, and the deployment should be carried out incrementally, starting with pilot tests on selected projects. An Evaluation and Development Plan, created in Stage I, outlines common long-term goals and objectives for the Project Management Office, and at this stage, methods, standards, training and support programs are developed, tested and distributed to achieve common goals.
How to Adopt Faster
Enterprise management level implies that you have a whole heap of projects; moreover, they intersect at many points. For example, you have the same team completing tasks for several projects at the same time. Or, the same customers ordered several products at once. You, after all, contribute the same amount to the budget for the rent of offices and the purchase of equipment for several teams, that may work on completely different projects. Different teams may choose separate Project management solution. But remember, all these factors must come down to a single seamless, continuous process. So, for a business that includes more than one team of three people and one product, with minor quarterly changes, there is an actual need for project portfolio management and a modern PPM solution. More so, a complete PPM solution will allow you to implement the Project Management Office faster and more painless.
PPM Express is a SaaS platform that enables an organization with a full portfolio and project visibility by aggregating project-related information across groups, portfolios, and systems. PPM Express is a lightweight portfolio management tool, that suits the immediate needs of teams and business entities starting with 20 people (so you can start monitoring and managing your project on an enterprise-level early in the game), to the extent of large companies of hundreds to thousands of employees.
- Easy to use, the intuitive interface connects all project data – terms, budgets, performance indicators into one wholesome picture.
- Advanced Customization options make it extremely adaptable to any particular market segment or business landscape.
- Makes long-term and short-term reporting easier. It is designed specifically to accommodate the need of PMOs and executives in portfolio transparency and flexible.
- Maintenance-free. Not just much more affordable, but also includes technical support and data backups, so you don’t have to spend any time managing environments.
- Budget uses the FluentPro Financials app to budget and finally Release section, that allows adding release dates for your portfolio.
- Data synchronization is covered in multiple ways. For example, setting up Perpetual synchronization or a specific Synchronization schedule.
- Group several projects into a portfolio to get a quick representation of the planned and actual work, budgets, and statuses for all the projects included in it.
- Filter your data by project, portfolio, resource filtering by various attributes: assigned manager, linked system, stage, etc.
Unlike the multiple alternative solutions, PPM Express has a unique benefit of providing the user with true customization options for every single detail in your portfolio. Major benefits of adopting PPM Express include:
- Better Decision Making
- Minimize Risk
- Maximize Resources
- Prove the Value to Stakeholders
- Enable Repeatable Success
Adopting PPM Express gives a way to give your PMOs and executives project transparency and flexibility. As a result, you get to foster a collaborative environment, where decision-making is easier and more fruitful. It is also minimizing the risks to individual projects regarding business impact, humanely maximizes human resources efficiency, allows for the repetitive use of the proven successful project in future initiatives.