Objectives of a PMO

PMO OBjectivesIn the last blog post, How to set up a PMO, it covered the steps to that should be taken to quickly set up a PMO.

This post will expand on the first step, Objectives of the PMO.  This is very important as it will help you and others understand the purpose of the PMO.  This is critical to stop all the people who will question the value and need of the PMO.

Primary Purpose

The purpose of any PMO is very simple, it is to provide a framework that will support all stakeholders and project teams to improve the probability of successful delivery.  An organisation embarks on a project to achieve an outcome.  This involves the investment of valuable resources (people, money, time).  If the PMO does not improve the probability of successfully project delivery it is not doing it’s job and is not needed.

How this is achieved

This will vary depending on what type of PMO is required.  However, key principles will be:

  • Standards: Look to embed common tools and processes based on organisation standards where they exist.
  • Consistency: Look to ensure that each project / workstream is populating reports, documents, plans to the same level using common standards (this is a must for comparing relative status of projects).
  • Transparency: The PMO must provide transparency of progress and status of all projects to all stakeholders.  This will allow for early warnings of issues allowing intervention to keep projects on track.
  • Pragmatic: only do something if it makes sense and adds value.  Challenge where organisation standards exist that do not make sense.  Failure to do this will put you in the position of being viewed as an overhead that does not add value.
  • Fit for Purpose:  Avoid over engineering and duplication of tools and processes.  Project Managers are busy delivering.  Don’t make their job harder by making duplicate requests.
  • Be Smart: Make sure you coordinate update requests and think about the information you require.  Don’t be seen as a PMO where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing with multiple and repeated requests.
  • Independence: Remember, while your aim is to build a good working relationship with the projects so you can help them, you must be careful to not get too close as this will cloud your judgement when challenging progress, status, etc.

This is not an exhaustive or even a purist list of PMO objectives and there will be some specific objectives depending on organisation requirements.  However, if you are looking to build a pragmatic PMO that is valued by your stakeholders, applying the above objectives and principles will be a great benefits.

PMO Objectives Presentation