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Topics: PMO
How does your PMO define a project?
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A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

A very broad definition to define the heart of a profession. When looking to direct all major organizational projects through a PMO, what are some general rules of thumb to define what constitutes a project? When should a PMO step in?

Updating a marketing campaign to a site involves Marketing, IT, training, and a few weeks of work. When does this shift from standard business process - to a project handled by the PMO?
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My PMO uses the following formal and informal metrics to decide how to handle projects:
The project's degree of visibility within the organization and to external customers
The number of stakeholder groups involved with the project
The estimated cost of the project
The project's degree of risk
The degree of personal interest upper management has in the project

The higher the value of each metric, the more likely my PMO will take control of the project.
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That would depend on what type of PMO it is.
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We keep the definition you stated at firt place. Then we take into account that projects are intended to create a solution to put strategy in action and because of that there are restrictions: time (because the opportunity window), cost (because the resource optimization), quality (because the need to create exactly what defined as defined), and the key thing is risk (always there is an inherent risk because it is inherited from the opportunity).
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Ricardo -

A PMO is not needed to govern or facilitate portfolio management including identification of projects. However, a PMO can work with stakeholders to refine the generic PMBOK definition to something more objective which fits the needs of the organization.

It's pretty common to have estimated effort or organizational impact be thresholds to define what is managed as a project and what isn't...

Kiron
Network:7457



A good PMO:

Provides tangible, repeatable, long-term benefits to the business
Aligns with corporate strategy and culture
Is agile enough to adapt as strategy shifts
Is a key enabler for the high-performing organization
Integrates data and information from corporate strategic projects/supports the balanced scorecard
Enables sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques for project success across the enterprise
Identifies and develops project management methodology, best practices and standards
Coaches, mentors, trains and provides oversight for project managers and staff
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I use the following decision tree and a graded approach:
1) Is the initiative broadly aligned with the tactical plan of your business unit? (if YES, it's business as usual)
2) Is the initiative broadly aligned with your job description? (if YES, it's business as usual)
3) If the answer to 1 & 2 is NO, it's a project, then there are 10 question to define the complexity of the project, and based on the answers, it falls into one of three tiers that define levels of controls, governance and support provided from the PMO.
...
1 reply by John Fraser
May 09, 2019 5:08 AM
John Fraser
...
Hi Frederic, out of interest, you mention that there are 10 questions that need to be asked and then 3 tiers of project that they may fall in to. Could you possibly elaborate - is that High, Medium and Low complexity for example?

Regards,
John
Network:41



Dec 11, 2018 1:05 PM
Replying to Frederic Casagrande
...
I use the following decision tree and a graded approach:
1) Is the initiative broadly aligned with the tactical plan of your business unit? (if YES, it's business as usual)
2) Is the initiative broadly aligned with your job description? (if YES, it's business as usual)
3) If the answer to 1 & 2 is NO, it's a project, then there are 10 question to define the complexity of the project, and based on the answers, it falls into one of three tiers that define levels of controls, governance and support provided from the PMO.
Hi Frederic, out of interest, you mention that there are 10 questions that need to be asked and then 3 tiers of project that they may fall in to. Could you possibly elaborate - is that High, Medium and Low complexity for example?

Regards,
John
...
2 replies by Frederic Casagrande and John Fraser
May 12, 2019 2:43 AM
Frederic Casagrande
...
Hi John,

It has since then grown a little bit, but here are the questions:
- Cross functional impact of the project
- Complexity of stakeholder engagement
- Complexity of project procurement
- Scope & Approach of the project
- Operating Experience / Lessons Learned
- Duration / Work effort
- Scheduling complexity of the project
- Third party involvement (none/one/many)
- Strategic contribution (or alignment)
- Resource Management
- Budget/spend
- Level of target risk
- Impact to People

Each question has three possible answers in the form of a sentence to be interpreted by the respondent. Ideally, the incumbent project manager and the PMO project controller would fill it in together to understand the adequacy between the qualification of the project manager and the perceived level of complexity of the project.

Based on the answers, there is a set of complex formulas that put the project into one of three buckets:
- Bronze (low complexity) projects can be managed within the business unit with limited training, and minimum oversight & controls
- Silver (medium complexity) projects are the vast majority of projects, they require a bit more experience / training from the project manager side, and a bit more oversight and controls
- Gold (most complex) projects are at the right hand side of the bell curve. These ususally require the highest level of oversight and controls, and a senior project manager

It is also worth to note that the training program we developed matches these three tiers.
May 12, 2019 3:07 AM
John Fraser
...
Very much obliged Frederic, that is very helpful indeed.

Thank you for contributing so promptly.

Regards,

John
Network:54



We are also keeping the definition you mentioned and in addition we have a threshold (in terms of cumulated effort, MD) to decide if the initiative should be treated as project or not.
Network:1041



May 09, 2019 5:08 AM
Replying to John Fraser
...
Hi Frederic, out of interest, you mention that there are 10 questions that need to be asked and then 3 tiers of project that they may fall in to. Could you possibly elaborate - is that High, Medium and Low complexity for example?

Regards,
John
Hi John,

It has since then grown a little bit, but here are the questions:
- Cross functional impact of the project
- Complexity of stakeholder engagement
- Complexity of project procurement
- Scope & Approach of the project
- Operating Experience / Lessons Learned
- Duration / Work effort
- Scheduling complexity of the project
- Third party involvement (none/one/many)
- Strategic contribution (or alignment)
- Resource Management
- Budget/spend
- Level of target risk
- Impact to People

Each question has three possible answers in the form of a sentence to be interpreted by the respondent. Ideally, the incumbent project manager and the PMO project controller would fill it in together to understand the adequacy between the qualification of the project manager and the perceived level of complexity of the project.

Based on the answers, there is a set of complex formulas that put the project into one of three buckets:
- Bronze (low complexity) projects can be managed within the business unit with limited training, and minimum oversight & controls
- Silver (medium complexity) projects are the vast majority of projects, they require a bit more experience / training from the project manager side, and a bit more oversight and controls
- Gold (most complex) projects are at the right hand side of the bell curve. These ususally require the highest level of oversight and controls, and a senior project manager

It is also worth to note that the training program we developed matches these three tiers.
Network:41



May 09, 2019 5:08 AM
Replying to John Fraser
...
Hi Frederic, out of interest, you mention that there are 10 questions that need to be asked and then 3 tiers of project that they may fall in to. Could you possibly elaborate - is that High, Medium and Low complexity for example?

Regards,
John
Very much obliged Frederic, that is very helpful indeed.

Thank you for contributing so promptly.

Regards,

John
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