Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) Part 5 – The Scope

The scope of the project to establish a PMO may be produced in a variety of ways. In this post I will list my preferred methods, which happen to be the same methods I use for most any project.

Here is how I would establish the initial scope:

  1. Work backwards from the Project Objectives – The Project Objectives contain the products, services or results of a project that survive and are maintained after a project has ended. For each objective, define the steps needed to accomplish it.
  2. Construct a Context Diagram – (If you don’t know what a Context Diagram is, you can search this blog using that term). Define who your “Suppliers” and “Customers” will be and how you and the PMO will interact (what data will be exchanged). Things such as “Request for Project Management Services” or “Project Status Reports” are examples of interactions with these entities.
  3. List the Processes – Once you have a Context Diagram, you can then create the list of internal PMO processes needed for every interaction. Some or all of these may also have been defined in the Project Objectives. If you missed any in the Project Objectives, add them in as you discover new ones. You may also have processes that are triggered by events that are not from “Suppliers” or “Customers”. They may be based on time (e.g. “Produce Monthly Portfolio Report”) or the state of data (e.g. “When there are more current project requests than PM’s, notify PMO Sponsor”). Define the steps needed to accomplish these additional objectives.
  4. Review the Stakeholder List – All of your Stakeholders (the ones affected by the product, service or result of your project) should appear on the Context Diagram. Review your list of Stakeholders to confirm this. If any are missing, add them and any interactions and internal processes associated with these Stakeholders.

These four categories should produce a good high-level scope. You can flesh out additional information when you get to he “Detail Requirements” stage.


Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) Part 4 – The Stakeholders

So far in this series of posts where the project is establishing a PMO, we have defined the Business Objectives (business outcomes we expect by having a PMO) and the Project Objectives (the things we need to accomplish to state we have now established a PMO). Now we will take a look at the Stakeholders.

Stakeholders fall into two broad categories:

  1. Those affected by the process of executing the project
  2. Those affected by the business and project outcomes of the project

Stakeholders in the first category are typically those who will work on the activities needed to accomplish the Project Objectives. They will do things such as document the organization structure, create the job descriptions, do the hiring, write processes and policy, etc.

Stakeholders in the second category, in this case, will mean everyone in the organization! Why? Because the PMO can manage or oversee projects in any area. If the PMO is around long enough they will interact with every department and many of the personnel. With so many people to inform, a careful Organization Change Management Plan will need to be documented and agreed upon. Having a PMO will be a huge change for most organizations. Some areas may even object to having one. Formal Change Management will be critical to the success of your PMO. I can’t stress this enough. If your PMO gets off to a bad start due to lack of Change Management, it may not survive for long.

If you search this blog for “Organizational Change Management”, that series of posts will provide you with guidance for this discipline.


Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) Part 3 – The Project Objectives

In the prior post, I talked about defining the Business Objectives (outcomes) for the PMO. Once these are known and agreed upon by the PMO Sponsor, you can move on do defining the Project Objectives, with the project being the establishment of the PMO.

I list here some considerations for setting Project Objectives for the PMO. It is not meant to be a complete list, but it will give you a good idea of what to consider.

  • Budget – What will be the budget for the PMO? Consider salaries, benefits, ongoing education, funding for professional organizations such as PMI, paying for certifications such as PMP, and travel.
  • Organizational Structure – What will be the level of the top of the organization (Officer, Sr. VP, VP, Sr. Director, Director, etc)? Will there be multiple levels below this? Will you have different levels of PM’s? How many full time employees? Will you use consultants?
  • Offices and Locations reserved
  • Job Descriptions – Once you have an Organizational Structure defined, you will need Job Descriptions and pay ranges for each defined job. These will be used as guides in the interview and hiring process.
  • Hiring – Starting with the top of the PMO organization. Once hired, this person will be largely responsible for hiring the rest of the team.
  • PMO Charter – This will contain the “rules of engagement” for the PMO. Things like how projects will be assigned, the roles the team will play, the project life cycle for this organization, the definition of when the PMO engagement on a project ends, etc.
  • PMO Processes and Templates – These will be the standards and practices for all steps of the project life cycle.

Your Project Objectives for establishing the PMO should be approved by the PMO Sponsor before moving on to the next step.