Lean, Mean PMO Machine

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Categories: PMOs


In previous posts, we've discussed the must-haves of establishing a project management office (PMO) and the basics of a PMO implementation plan. After digging deeper into the PMO implementation plan, it's time now to discuss how to keep the PMO focused, effective and providing value.
 
Having a framework that allows you to model the PMO's processes and tailor them to match organizational needs can make corporate project management more valuable. This approach is based on a proven methodology named Business Model Generation, a strategic management canvas for developing new or documenting existing business models visually. We are now going to apply it to a PMO. 

This is important, because many PMOs start small. Their main concerns are usually tied to monitoring and reporting project results to assist senior-level decision-making. However, as time passes, people think the PMO must absorb new features and responsibilities to remain competitive. 

But growing a PMO in size doesn't necessarily mean we're improving project governance and corporate results. Maturity is the key to success. And a lean PMO is much better than a large bureaucratic PMO. Take a look at The Project Management Office in Sync with Strategy to see examples of this in practice.

Setting up a lean PMO is easier than keeping it lean. If you followed the steps mentioned in previous posts, you already have a strong PMO implementation plan with all the basics. Don't be tempted to add new functions to your PMO unless they are strictly necessary to the value you want to provide.

The most important characteristic of a lean PMO is that it is customer-centered. So, the first step is to identify your customers. Then, you have to uncover their needs to define the PMO's value proposition.

In my organization, for example, we can spot five customer groups that our PMO wants to serve:

  • Senior management
  • Project managers
  • Functional managers
  • Teams and team members
  • Suppliers and contractors
Once you know your customer groups, the next step is to identify their needs. These audience needs could look something like this:

  • Senior management: Reliable information that helps them make decisions
  • Project managers: Coaching, mentoring and support
  • Functional managers: Resource management
  • Teams and team members: Training and competence development
  • Suppliers and contractors: Logistical information and fair contract administration
Once we understand our stakeholders and their needs, we can develop a value proposition, which we will discuss in the next post.

Meanwhile, I invite you to review the following business model canvas and consider how this could be used to build a lean PMO:  

Voices_Mario_LeanPMO1_final.png
Courtesy of Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

For instance, does the PMO have revenue streams? If not, can we think of something better to substitute instead? What about channels and customer relationship -- do these apply to PMOs? Can a PMO develop alliances? Find out in my next post.

For more on planning a PMO, read PMI's Pulse of the Profession®: PMO Frameworks, which was developed by PMPs and provides information o five types of PMOs.

Posted by Mario Trentim on: May 27, 2014 10:00 AM | Permalink

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