The First Thing to Do When Setting up a PMO

Hussain is the Chief PMO Coach and Adviser at Parwaaz Consulting, which provides coaching, support and resources to facilitate the success of Project Management Office (PMO) leaders at high-growth small- and mid-sized organizations. He has led and facilitated the PMO setup at several companies and advised numerous PMO leaders through their PMO establishment. He has authored several PMO-focused publications, speaks at PMI events and holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from The College of Wooster in Ohio.

Setting up a project management office can appear to be daunting. And let’s not kid anyone: It is. It requires careful planning, deliberate relationship building, flawless execution and continuous improvement. Throw in a mix of doubters, some “We’re not going to change!”-ers and differing demands, it makes the situation even more challenging. It could lead to endless planning and constant people pleasing, all while stitching a road map together with a shoestring.

Avoid it! Take over the steering wheel! And even if it takes time, this is the first thing you should do: Identify why a PMO is needed in your organization or department.

If you want your PMO to be accepted by your organization and get its permission to exist, you must focus on determining why your PMO is really needed. It’s not enough to just get cursory viewpoints from a few people. It’s not enough to hear the problems you might come across in hallway conversations. The information you were told when you were hired or promoted for the top PMO role is not enough. You must roll up your sleeves and get this information directly (as they say) from the horse’s’ mouth.

Let me walk you through a systematic way to do this, so that when you go about setting up your PMO, you’re confident that you are truly addressing the problems your organization expects it to …

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