Kick-Start Your PMO

Carleton is an Associate Director Portfolio Management in Queensland, Australia.

The first project management office I worked on was a success. We built an entire new newspaper using dozens of projects to set up everything from editorial software to litho-plating, through to new national delivery channels. We did it in six months and came in under budget. More importantly, the paper sold from day one.

The newspaper PMO was successful more by enthusiasm and hard work than by structure and forethought. Since those early days, I’ve set up another four PMOs with varying degrees of success. This article examines the concepts I have found to be useful in setting up a new PMO or improving an existing team.

Build a solid foundation
Before you do anything else, ask yourself, “Why does the PMO exist? What is its purpose? How does it deliver value to the business?” The PMO has a defined position in your organizational structure. This position drives both its form and function. A PMO within the finance function of an organization has a different focus to one that reports into IT, or perhaps direct to the board.

A solid understanding the PMO position and purpose will provide you with the insight needed to articulate specific, business-oriented goals and objectives. One reason that the newspaper PMO was so successful was that we understood the editor’s vision. This shared vision drove all our projects to reach the one outcome of having a…

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"In opera, there is always too much singing."

- Claude Debussy

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