Running a project management office

Running a Project Management Office

Running weekly PMO meetingIf you have not worked in a PMO, it can be daunting if you are asked to take on a role running a PMO. So this post will share some thoughts on what activities you can expect to undertake when managing a project management office.

Typical Weekly PMO Activities

Status updates

As the PMO manager you are expected to know what is going on within each of the projects / work streams and provide formal or informal updates to management. Therefore, a very important activity is creating a weekly status report for the projects under your oversight.

Caution: many projects report formally on a monthly basis so make sure you implement a light touch status report for the weekly updates. This avoids valuable time being taken away from delivery.

Informal Meetings

You should not wait for the weekly status reports to find out what is going on. Spend time speaking to the project managers and team members every day as you walk around the office. This way you can pick up on issues early and work with the project teams to address.

Stakeholder / Sponsor Updates

Stakeholders and sponsors can get very nervous when they are not receiving updates or messages are coming in through 3rd parties. The PMO manager should actively engage with the stakeholders to keep them up to date on important updates. This will result in them seeing that you are in control and have visibility of all of the projects. It will also stop them making numerous requests for updates resulting in time consuming fire drills.

Weekly Team Meeting

It is good practice to set up a regular weekly meeting with the project managers and PMO team members. This allows for important information to be shared and risks / issues to be discussed and managed. See post on PMO Meeting Agenda for more information.

Monthly PMO Activities

Steering Committees

The PMO will typically be looked at to organize and manage a monthly management meeting to allow senior management to review progress and make key decisions. This will involve agreeing agenda, coordinating the production of meeting material and logistics for room bookings, VC, lunch, etc. This can take a lot of time as the material needs to be very good and, attention is needed to ensure that all the logistics comes together.

Financial Review

This will probably be done as part of the steering committee. However, there will be an obligation to review all of the budgets and cost centres to ensure that there are no serious under / over spends. This includes reviewing the costs for the PMO.

Resource Review

If the PMO is managing demand and supply, you will need to assess the new projects, existing projects and balance against available resource / budget. This will allow you to provide recommendations to senior management on what projects can be supported.

Summary

As you realize, there are many other activities and in this article it has only been possible to touch on some of the core activities. However, it does give a flavor of what is expected.

When running a project management office (PMO), it is important to establish the weekly and monthly routines and, where possible, secure enough resource so they can be completed properly.

It is inevitable that you will also be hit with numerous ad-hoc requests. This is part of managing a PMO. However, if you have been able to get the routines in place and made the effort to ensure the quality of data submissions, you will be in a good starting position to respond to many of the requests.