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Senior PMs building PMOs

I see a new trend of hiring senior or lead PM's to establish PMO frameworks. A very interesting approach to addressing issues in project delivery performance. It addresses only one angle of the triangle. Even a light-weight framework must address the following:

One side is people.
One side is strategy.
One side is performance.

#1 if you're a seasoned PM, you understand you lead without authority and that this is a long journey met with a lot of doubt from business partners. Wear big boy pants and hang in there.

#2 you’re not doing strategy your mitigating. Keeping people calm, driving conversation into solutions. In reality, you don't have a say. You focus on keeping collective heads and hopefully it goes smooth enough that your business partners endorse you.

#3 is what they want but don't know how to get it. So you're there to iron out wrinkles, and if it works, we'll call it a delivery approach.

Surprise!!! #4 if executive backing is lacking none of this will work, anyway.

Before you consider building a PMO, make sure they are ready. Ask the right questions. Find out where their heads are. Be careful you don't end up putting out fires for a living - with a glorified title that means nothing.

Christopher Gentry
Owner of LeadStraight LLC
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Christopher -

Agreed. A PMO needs to be justified just like any other strategic initiative - if there isn't sufficient business rationale, a committed sponsor, and excellence in its execution, it will fail spectacularly or die a painful lingering death.



Great points.

A PMO must have clear mission, executive support and be objective driven. Strategies for defining, assessing and approving projects preferably with strong, realistic business cases and ROI's. Senior PM's are prime candidates because of their experience, and soft skills.

Agree with Kiron & Todd

Very interesting points, Christopher.
The PMO is very useful but everybody in the board of directors must know which is its mission of this and whatever the PMO needs to get its goals.

Thanks for sharing.

A PMO should be the center of excellence for executive strategy. I am slightly confused why the board of directors would need involvement in PMO activities. C-suite sets the strategy. The PMO is there to execute strategy. There should be a systematic flow of direction and strategy. The PMO should be a transformational project. Defined clearly but never failing to address executive and business strategy. In my opinion, this is why many IT PMOs struggle because they focus on development (Agile) or the service portfolio vs remembering they have business partners with a delivery roadmap and clear deadlines. Delivering development and releasing products and services on time at the right time (according to business road map) is how you support executives, and ultimately the board of directors.

Hi christopher.
I don't think the board directors would need involvement in PMO activities, but to facility the role of PMO in a multi department company, it's important that the directors know the mission of PMO and support it, and avoid the diferents between departaments about this. I see them like "sponsor" of the PMO.

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"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."

- Johann Sebastian Bach



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