Project Management

Digging Deeper into a PMO Implementation Plan

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Categories: PMOs


In my last post, we discussed the five basics of a PMO implementation plan. Here, I'll delve deeper into those five: 

1. Current State Assessment

When assessing the current state, it might be helpful to hire an external consultancy, as internal initiatives may lose momentum along the way. The people internal to an organization might not be able to ask the right questions or they might even resist due to a fear of change. An external consultancy can assist in overcoming political issues by adopting a structured approach. Usually, consultants force or drive change because that's what they are hired to do. In the end, a good diagnosis will point out issues and opportunities for improvement. 

2. Future State Vision

Based on the assessment, it is possible to design a future state vision, describing how projects, programs and portfolios should be managed in order to fulfill organizational needs. That's because when the current state is clearly understood, it is easy to compare to benchmarks. Consequently, the organization can realize what is missing or what is done but could be improved. Ultimately, the future state vision details exactly what the organization wants to become.

3. Gap Analysis

The next step is to carry out a gap analysis by comparing the current state to the future vision. This analysis has to focus on three factors: 

  • What is desirable? 
  • What is effective?
  • What is feasible?
A successful gap analysis clearly identifies what is missing or what could be improved, prioritizing which features, processes and structure the PMO should have, according to effectiveness (cost x benefit), desirability (sponsorship; what the company want to implement) and feasibility (what is realistic and what is possible to do). We have to select and prioritize based on cultural and organizational feasibility, not only based on resources available.

For example, imagine an organization wants to implement enterprise project management (EPM) software. There are plenty of options in the market. Some have fancy features and are more expensive. It might be desirable to have top-notch software, so we won't have to substitute or upgrade it for years. However, it is effective to choose software that offers the simplest solution and satisfies future state needs. Finally, it might be feasible to start with familiar software to overcome people's resistance and rejection to the PMO implementation.

In this particular case, project professionals might desire the best EPM in the world (desirability) -- but the company could do well with a free version or simpler software (effectiveness). Finally, considering that people unfamiliar with project management practices will have to use the software, it might make sense to get something familiar or similar to other software they already use (feasibility).

4. Implementation Strategy

After the gap analysis, introduce stakeholder requirements to define the implementation strategy. I recommend thinking of the PMO like a new business unit or a small new company. The PMO should have its own mission, vision and goals. We have to identify who are its stakeholders and customers, so we can define its value proposition and its services. Personally, I use the Business Model Generation canvas to do that.

The implementation strategy defines the approach to implement a PMO, major expected results and the overall framework, considering organizational strategy and corporate project management governance. Consequently, the PMO business model must support and enhance strategic alignment by selecting, prioritizing and managing portfolios of projects that sustain and boost organizational strategy.

5. Implementation Plan

Finally, the implementation plan is the detailed project management plan for implementing the PMO. While the implementation strategy is the approach chosen to implement the PMO, the implementation plan puts that strategy into action. 

We start by defining its scope and work breakdown structure. Then we create a schedule of tasks to deliver the project scope. Resource needs are identified and a budget is set. Other subsidiary plans are created to manage integration, scope, time, cost, quality, communications, human resources, risks, procurement and stakeholders. 

The implementation plan should be as detailed as you need. I want to emphasize the importance of defining a business model for your PMO, allowing for performance measurement and improvement after the implementation. 

In my next post, I'll provide a framework for sustaining and improving your PMO, once it is set up and running. Do you have any tips or examples of PMO implementation plans? 

Posted by Mario Trentim on: February 21, 2014 09:50 AM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Nice reading. Thanks for sharing

Very interesting read. I would add one thing: a Roadmap to outline the timeframe for each implementation plan element!

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