Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) Part 8 – Summary

In summary of the prior posts in this topic series, if you are embarking on creating a PMO, you need to treat it like a project. This means appointing a Project Manager and following the usual best practices.

Here are the topics I wrote about in the prior posts:

  • Part 2 – The Business Objectives – define the results you want after the PMO is up and running. Establish the mission and clear and measurable metrics to measure PMO performance.
  • Part 3 – The Project Objectives – define the PMO organization chart, job titles and descriptions, policies and procedures.
  • Part 4 – The Stakeholders – identify who will help establish the PMO and who is affected by the PMO (normally, everyone in the organization).
  • Part 5 – The Scope – from the Business and Project Objectives and the Stakeholders, list the major activities needed to establish the PMO.
  • Part 6 – The Timeline and the Budget – these are two things that may be constraints on the hiring process.
  • Part 7 – Risks, Constraints, Dependencies – understand what can go wrong and have mitigation and contingency plans; know and work within your constraints; identify what other initiatives can affect this one.

Having a PMO is a key step to organizational growth and improvement. Establishing a PMO with a clear mission and measurable objectives is critical to its success.

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Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) Part 7 – Risks, Constraints, Dependencies

Continuing the series of posts on establishing a Project Management Office, I’ll address some possible Risks, Constraints and Dependencies.

Risks

As always with identifying risks, ask yourself “What worries me about this?”. Here are a few possible risks. You will likely have more, depending on your unique situation.

  • Not finding qualified people (ones that match the experience, people skills and project vision)
  • We find qualified people but their salary demands exceed our budget
  • Some departments in the company may see this as an intrusion on their project authority
  • Creating “too much” documentation
  • Creating a Project Management Methodology that is “too rigid”

When you have identified your initial risks, you will apply the usual Risk Management practices (identifying triggers, assessing probability and impact, creating mitigation and contingency plans. assigning a risk owner).

Constraints

Every project has constraints, which are conditions that limit the solution. In establishing a PMO, here are a few possible constraints:

  • Staff size
  • Staff budget
  • Work location
  • PMO “up and running by” date

Dependencies

Some possible external dependencies that could delay the establishment of your PMO:

  • Budget approval
  • Establishing work location (may need an addition or remodel)
  • Getting projects approved to justify the hiring

Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) Part 6 – The Timeline and the Budget

The Timeline

The PMO Sponsor must decide which priority is the greatest: Getting the PMO up and running by a specific target date or making sure the hiring (especially for the PMO leader) matches the desired traits as closely as possible. If there is a date that cannot move, it is possible some compromises will be made in the hiring process.

Once that is determined, the timeline can be fleshed out as with any other project. You do a work breakdown on the key deliverables (hiring staff, establishing policies and standards, creating/assigning work space, executing the organizational change management plan). Assign the tasks, estimate the durations, and determine dependencies. Mix all of these together and the result is your schedule for establishing the PMO.

The Budget

The budget will also be a key factor in the hiring process. The bulk of the budget for a PMO will be the salaries. The level of talent attracted will be directly proportional to the assigned salary ranges. It is possible that this, like the timeline, can also generate compromises in the hiring process.

Hiring the right people is the most important aspect of establishing a PMO. The manager of this project must do their best to convince the Sponsor to minimize compromises in the hiring process. The people you bring on board must be in alignment with the Sponsor’s vision of the PMO. In fact, a good PMO leader might also enhance the vision and show the Sponsor how the PMO might evolve over time.

Other budget factors might be established for the following:

  • Annual PMI member dues
  • Ongoing education for PDU’s
  • PM software such as MS Project
  • Subscriptions to PM related peridicals