It’s likely that your new project management office (PMO) is being commissioned to make sure projects work in harmony. A key factor to the success of your office is having standard processes that apply across all the projects that you manage.

When it comes to having set PMO processes, you will first need to decide the project management methodology you’re going to be working with. This may already be implemented in the business, or you may need to make a formal decision.

To guide you through getting the right processes in place when setting up a PMO, including:

  • How to choose your PMO-wide methodology
  • What makes a good PMO process
  • Why good processes will set your PMO up for success

How do I choose the right methodology for my new PMO?

Along with the right people, the right methodology is going to stand your PMO in good stead for the future. In a business with established projects, you may already have a methodology to work with, but you should at least do an assessment as to whether it’s fit for purpose in the long run.

We won’t go into the different methodologies here, but we will give you a basic framework to help you choose between your options:

  • Does it meet the business needs? Understand the types of projects that will come under your PMO and the best methodology, e.g. Agile may be more suited for IT and Waterfall for construction.
  • What do your stakeholders think? Project managers, their team members, and your PMO sponsor will all have strong ideas about what they think will work best.
  • Does the methodology work in practice? Take the time to run a project through the methodology and see if it works and makes improvements where you intended.
  • How will success be measured? Make sure you will be able to measure the tangible results from the methodology that you choose.

What does a good PMO process look like?

With your methodology established, you need to get into the details of what it will look like for your projects. This means you will need to design processes and templates so that every project works in the same way.

A good PMO process will:

  • Align with the business strategy. For example, if ESG is a focus of the business, then each process will need to have this concept baked in.
  • Be easy to standardise. You need everyone working within projects to be able to follow the process and report on the outcomes without being overly bureaucratic.
  • Be flexible enough to allow for creativity and edge cases. You want project managers to be able to make changes without lots of paperwork if it gets the job done well.
  • Improve over time, with options to iterate and make changes when the need arises, including producing data that will lead to these improvements.
  • Have clear roles outlined so that everyone in a project knows what element of a process is theirs, e.g. what work an analyst will need to do and what data an admin assistant needs to gather.

Every PMO will need to have different processes outlined, but following these principles no matter your industry will set you towards success.

Why do I need to focus on processes when setting up a PMO?

Process frameworks are the bread and butter of PMOs. You want to make sure every project is following best practice every time so that when something goes wrong, it is easier to identify the cause.

Your PMO is going to be tasked with making sure projects are successful within the terms you and they outline, usually on time and on budget. Having set processes means a project team can get on with the work knowing they are doing things in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

You will also be better able to monitor project governance and compliance when things are done the same way every time.

Ensuring a successful PMO with the right processes

Strong, well-thought-out processes will set your PMO up for success because they will make sure everyone is doing the right thing the first time. You will be able to check on the success of projects and how well your office is performing when you know everything is being done to the same standard each time.