Project Management

How to Run a Small PMO

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and project manager living and working in London. She runs The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specializing in project management.

If you think your business is too small to have a Project Management Office, think again. I am proof that small teams benefit from a PMO--even if that PMO is you, working on PMO stuff for only a few hours a week.

I was the PMO for a team of four project managers. I was managing my own projects at the time, but the senior managers decided that they needed an overview of what was going on. What were those project managers working on, and where was the money going? It was a sensible question, so I volunteered to take on PMO-style responsibilities to get that information together.

Making time to be the PMO
One of the reasons we didn’t already have a PMO is that it seems like an unnecessary bureaucratic overhead for four project managers. On such a small team, why pay for a PMO service? You’d think that they could all work together informally.

Well, that’s true to a certain extent--and our team of professional, self-managing project managers did a great job. But when you are up against project deadlines and your sponsor is chasing you for the latest release, it’s hard to take time out to prepare a portfolio report when it isn’t going to help you move your project forward.

There isn’t enough work for the PMO to do on a small team to make this a full-time job, and most small businesses would struggle to justify adding someone to…


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"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."

- Rene Descartes

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