As you begin to set the foundations for your new project management office (PMO), you will start to form a de facto plan. To make sure your PMO is truly successful, you should elucidate a clear plan to see you through set-up and to the end of your first year.

You may be well-versed in getting a PMO off the ground, or this could be the first time you’re embarking on the journey. Either way, a plan is going to give you something to refer back to when you need guidance on where to develop next and what your priorities are.

To help you create a solid plan for your new PMO and set you up for success, we’re going to look at:

  • Why you need a good PMO plan
  • What makes a plan for a new PMO good
  • Pitfalls to avoid when writing a PMO plan

Why do I need a plan for my new PMO?

Knowing what to do to set up a new PMO may feel intuitive. The processes are covered in a range of resources, and you’ve likely experienced the process as a team member or PMO leader during your career.

You should still write down a plan for your new PMO. While you may know exactly what you want to see happen and what your office will do, you have team members, project managers, the C-suite, and various other stakeholders, who also need to know what comes next.

Trust will also be built when you can present a solid plan. All of your stakeholders will be assured that you have a plan and aren’t working off-the-cuff when you have a clear document with your next steps outlined.

There can also be new risks that may not have been present during previous PMO set-up’s. This could be because you’re in a new sector, technology has evolved, or the regulatory landscape has changed, for example. Thinking through and writing down a plan can help identify new risks.

What does a good PMO plan look like?

When you’re creating your PMO plan, you should start from the very beginning. You’ll need to:

  • Define your PMO goals and how you’ll demonstrate them in the short- and long-term
  • Set the scope for your PMO, covering the activities you will – and won’t – do
  • Develop the processes your PMO is going to implement across the projects and how you’ll measure their success
  • Establish the way your projects and PMO will report data and how and when that will be communicated to stakeholders
  • Map out the skills and people you’ll need to hire and train to populate your new PMO
  • Set up a process to review and iterate the work of your PMO so there is a culture of continuous improvement

You need to walk your PMO through from inception all the way to its first year so you have a point of reference during that time.

What are the pitfalls to avoid when writing a PMO plan?

When you write your PMO plan, you need to make sure that you involve the right people throughout the process. Stakeholders should be involved in creating the plan where appropriate, and this will help keep them engaged through the plan’s implementation as well.

Another PMO planning pitfall can be having the wrong emphasis. If you focus too much on tools and technology rather than the people who will help you be successful, for example, you won’t see great results.

Your plan needs to be aligned with and focused on the business strategy. This means that each step should have a clear emphasis on an element of the business and PMO goals. You need this to make sure the plan adds value to the PMO and the overall organisation.

Planning for your PMO’s success

Having a clear plan for what you will achieve with your PMO will set it up for success into the future. Mapping out what you will do, when, and how will give you a roadmap to refer back to and a document to show stakeholders to give them confidence in you and your PMO.