Project Management

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Topics: Organizational Project Management, PMO, Portfolio Management
How many project managers are recommended to build and establish a PMO?
I am working on a business case to recommend building a PMO to help manage the resources of the multiple projects that are ongoing and planned.

Presently, we have one PM that tracks "special projects" however I believe it is larger than a one person show.

My ultimate objective is to establish a Center of Excellence that involves Portfolio Management, Quality or Process Improvement, and Change Management.

The help I am seeking is how to better define the requirements of a PMO (since I have never work with or in one) and key ideas to drive the business case home.

The main question is how many PMs are recommended to begin an enterprise level PMO? However, I am very open to any other comments and advice as well.

Thank you for your time.
Ken
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Ken -

Before proceeding too far, check whether a centralized pool of PMs is the right answer or whether it would be simpler to have PMs reside within the lines of business they serve. If there isn't sufficient buy-in already for a PMO, setting up one which provides PMs to projects might be a harder sell than a CoE with limited staffing focused on supporting project delivery by LOB PMs.

Kiron
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1 reply by Kenneth Lewis
Jan 21, 2021 1:33 PM
Kenneth Lewis
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Hello Kiron,
Thank you for the info. I personally believe that if each project had a dedicated PM then our organization would be more efficient. We have a lot of people that are dual hatting roles, especially within our IT dept. I would really love to propose a solution that incorporates change management.
I have so many ideas and am trying to get them down on paper and then make it succint for leadership :)
Jan 21, 2021 12:47 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Ken -

Before proceeding too far, check whether a centralized pool of PMs is the right answer or whether it would be simpler to have PMs reside within the lines of business they serve. If there isn't sufficient buy-in already for a PMO, setting up one which provides PMs to projects might be a harder sell than a CoE with limited staffing focused on supporting project delivery by LOB PMs.

Kiron
Hello Kiron,
Thank you for the info. I personally believe that if each project had a dedicated PM then our organization would be more efficient. We have a lot of people that are dual hatting roles, especially within our IT dept. I would really love to propose a solution that incorporates change management.
I have so many ideas and am trying to get them down on paper and then make it succint for leadership :)
As with many things, it depends. When determining staffing requirements for an org, much like a project, you try and break the anticipated work down into chunks that you can estimate, add them up and assume an efficiency factor, like 80% to cover training and such.

Not every project necessarily needs a dedicated PM from the PMO. I've led multiple PMOs, and many times there is not enough work statement on each project to fully occupy a PMs time. That is the downfall of a purely project based organization structure is that if someone is dedicated to a project, they are charging to it whether they are working or not. It's the cost of having them available when needed.

In the last PMO I led, some people were dedicated full time to a single project. Others managed portfolios of smaller projects, each with a PM residing in the technical team. Some worked part time on smaller projects. If we tried to load up everyone to their expected capacity, then we had no room for overflow, such as an emergent and urgent project.

It's a bit like asking how many people are appropriate to participate on a project team. The answer depends on the work statement. The work statement depends on the scope of responsibilities, so step 1 I would develop a charter defining the scope of work.
Just to comment and give you some context about myself I am in charge to create PMO plus Enterprise PMO from long time ago in multiple different companies including my actual work place. To define the level of people needed is the same than you define or estimate it for a project. In fact, to create a PMO must be presented as a solution for a business problem and when it is approved (thanks a business case) the needed resources (all type) has to be included in the approval. So, first thing to do, is to define the process you need to put in place (you stated some of them at high level) and create a project to implement them. Your post is a high level statement (strategical) but you have to put it in tactic and execution mode. And remember: depending in the phase you are you will make an estimation with a level of error. My recommendation is take a look to Barry Bohem´s Cone of Uncertainty.
To restate/paraphrase some of what has been said, you may not need any project managers in your PMO. My first question is whether the objectives you mentioned are your objectives, or your stakeholders' objectives?

I haven't seen him on this site, for a while, but Mark Price Perry has posted, and published a book, on Value Driven PMOs. Similarly, the PMO Value Ring (something I'm learning more about and considering training on) emphasizes identifying the value and benefits your stakeholders want, and using that information to drive the PMO functions. You want to be able to measure, and deliver, the value that is expected from the PMO if you want to continue to have a PMO that people use.

Once you identify the functions the PMO needs to perform to deliver the desired benefits, then you can determine the roles you need fulfilled and the number of people to fill them. Project Management may be a separate function, but you may need someone to measure project performance and (post-project) value realization.

I'll stop now, before my response gets too long (something I seem to be good at), but feel free to message me if you want to bounce ideas around. I've recently gone through some of what you're figuring out, and am probably in the middle of some of the other areas.
Kiron and Sergio made good points.

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