To do this, your organization must ask a number of questions before the PMO is created so that it can achieve its planned benefits. To help you get started, below are questions in nine categories, plus example answers for most.
Figure 1 – Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder, 2010)
1. Value proposition
What differentiates the PMO from existing organizational structures? How will the PMO create value for its customers? What products and services should the PMO offer, and how should they be offered?
The answer to these questions can be in the form of a mission statement, such as: “The Strategic PMO will be responsible for selecting, prioritizing and authorizing strategic projects, coordinating funds from functional areas and suppliers, negotiating with internal and external customer projects, and centralizing information to senior management.”
Who will the PMO’s customers be, and what are their needs and preferences?
Example answers: Functional managers will need information and reports about ongoing projects, plus a centralized system of planning and resource availability.
Project managers will need support in processes, methodology and templates. They’ll also need mentoring and coaching, historical information, lessons learned and documentation.
Project team members will need training, information, infrastructure and help with resource allocation.
Suppliers and contractors will need contracts and procurement management. They’ll also need project information and change request control.
Senior management will need consolidated information, metrics, dashboards and decision-making support.
How can PMO customers access the PMO’s functions? Where and how are the PMO's products and services going to be available?
Example answer: The PMO will offer its functions through in-person and online support, meetings and training sessions, coaching and mentoring, administrative support, enterprise project management, a contract management system, and phone or e-mail support.
What type of relationship do customers expect to have with the PMO? How will the PMO interact with customers?
Example answer: The PMO will interact via feedback (meetings, suggestion box or email), an ombudsman, workshops and seminars, benchmarking, and monitoring the use of tools and infrastructure.
5. Revenue streams
What are the PMO’s potential sources of income? Will business units pay for PMO services? Does your PMO have an impact report or benefits realization plan to justify the resources needed to keep it running? What are the key success indicators of the PMO?
Which people or groups can help the PMO fulfill its mission? Should any functional area, such as human resources, partner with the PMO? Are there external organizations that may help your PMO?
Example answer: Consulting companies will provide training, the HR department will help define career paths, the IT department will help with infrastructure like computers and the network, and associations such as PMI or PMI chapters will promote joint workshops and seminars.
7. Key activities
What processes, procedures and activities must be performed within the PMO so that it materializes its value proposition and delivers it to customers?
Example answer: The PMO will select and prioritize projects, provide training, develop policies, methodology and templates, and provide IT software and infrastructure.
8. Key resources
What resources (people, equipment, infrastructure, money) are necessary for the functioning of the PMO and the realization of its activities?
9. Cost structure
What is the operating cost of the PMO, considering its activities, necessary resources and partnerships?
Example answer: The PMO will require funds for wages, infrastructure, software, books and publications, and consulting and training services.
Do you have any ideas on how to better define a PMO? Is there any way we could improve PMO implementation (or reshape existing PMOs) by using the Business Model Canvas? Please comment below!
And by the way: Visit PMI’s Knowledge Shelf to learn more about PMOs.