There are many benefits to establishing an effective PMO. First, the PMO provides a framework for consistently managing projects through a standard methodology while ensuring the projects are aligned with corporate goals and strategies. Project managers have clear lines of responsibility while coordinating people, processes, and tools with one another and by doing so, avoid both gaps and overlaps between projects and reduce or eliminate duplication of effort. Standardization and repeatability afford an organization better communication, reduced project cost, improved resource management, more accountability, improved quality, better forecasting, and less overhead associated with project managers.
Enlist Executive and Management Support
The first step in establishing a PMO is gaining executive and management support. This step relies heavily on organizational change management (OCM) as it requires a potentially significant shift in organizational culture as well as roles and responsibilities. Regardless of the difficulties and resistance to change, this step is the foundation upon which a successful PMO must be built. As with any shift in organizational structure, policy, or procedure, favor must be gained through justification for the changes in terms of cost benefit and return on investment (ROI).
Determine the Structure and Build the Team
The next step in building a PMO is to determine the structure and develop the team. There is no defined template for PMO structure as every organization brings its own variables to consider. Some manage all aspects of the projects assigned under them like scheduling, budgets, resourcing, human capital, oversight, and communication. Others may strictly coordinate these functions with most of the support coming from adjacent departments. The keys to determining the right structure and team members for the PMO are understanding the most effective way they can co-exist within the organization and finding the right balance between the PMO, organizational culture, roles and responsibilities, and management style. Some things to consider in establishing the structure and building the PMO team include: availability of resources; existing project management standards and methodologies; current roles and responsibilities; the politics of the organization; project size and volume; and current project management problems.
Develop and Document Standards
Once the structure and team members have been determined, it is time to develop and document the PMO standards, practices, and methodologies for project management. These standards will allow for consistency across the organization and its portfolio of projects. They will also comprise a large portion of the training that projects managers and staff will receive in the next step. Standardization is also an important part of allowing an organization to compare various projects and allocate resources where and when they are necessary.
Identify Skills and Train the Staff
Once the development of project management standards and methodologies is complete, the PMO must identify the proficiency levels and skill sets of it project managers and staff in order