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Topics: PMO
Project Management Center of Excellence (PMCoE)
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Having recently completed an assignment in a PMO, I have developed this theory, that a PMCoE is really a subset of what a PMO delivers.

My theory is that the PMO caters to 3 different customers:

a) senior management - investment decision support, mgmt reporting, strategic support during budget cycle time - I would call all that IT STRATEGIC SUPPORT

b) departmental managers - supply/demand, cross-project issue tracking and resolution, integrated cost/schedule control - I would call all that PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

c) project managers - coaching, support during project start-up, setting PM standards, providing checklists, tool support, empowering through training- I would call that PROJECT MANAGEMENT CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

Am I on the right track or completely off? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Katharina,

Basically you are correct, the PMCoE is a subcomponent of the PMO. However, it depends on how the particular company is using the PMO. As a consultant who has implemented PMOs for several companies - they can be used as a simplified project reporting tool to a support organization throughout IT. I much prefer the support organization and view the PMO as an "enabler" not "inhibitor". Most of the PMOs I have established include the PMO, PMCoE, and Program Support Office (PSO).

Program Management Office - The PMO by nature comprises the functions of the PSO and PMCOE. The activities performed by the PMO include: strategy implementation, project prioritization, project alignment, project reporting, standards, methodology and project management process, accountability, change management, and project coordination.

Program Management Center of Excellence
Gathering point of expertise, but does not assume responsibility for project results. The primary purpose of the PMCOE is to raise the organizational competence and maturity level of the enterprise. These include: training, process standardization, internal consulting, competency enhancement, best practices, prioritization, tool definition and standardization.

Program Support Office - Provides senior technical services to “kick-start” various projects simultaneously. These services include: architecture, hardware, software, processes, tools, methodology, and strategic interface expertise.

The companies that implemented the above format focused on:

Project Alignment
Project Execution
Project Tracking & Reporting
Process Improvement Program

I hope this helps. If you need more information or would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to email jburklo@tampabay.rr.com or call (813) 716-3064.

By the way, I will be starting a new assignment on July 23rd implement a PMO for one of the world's largest entertainment/travel companies.

Here is a copy of a presentation that describes the above.

File attached.

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Great discussion. I appreciate the descriptions you have both posted and was especially interested in the PMO presentation. Thanks, Jeffrey!

I'm wondering where Risk Management fits into your visions of a PMO? Specifically, I'm referring to the use of Risk Management to prioritize and select projects. We use a process of reviewing opportunities and analyzing the risks to determine how closely the project fits the stated requirements. If there are too many risks, the project becomes a lower priority. We are considering forming a PMO and I would definitely see this review function as a responsibility of the PMO, along with the monitoring of risks during implementation.

Your thoughts?
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You're on the right track, as Jeff confirmed. As a consultant that implements PMOs in Fortune 500 companies, I use a 4-aspect format. But its results that matter, not the number of aspects.

RE: Risk Management. I've enjoyed a lot of success with a tabular approach to scope definition for the PMO project, where scope elements are categorized. One of the categories is "best practices" or "mentoring topics" (if your PMO offers mentoring services"), where Risk Management in general is usually an advanced topic. PMO implementations will enjoy limited success if the focus is on advanced topics rather than the basics.

Laura, your 'risk management' approach seems to be related more to project prioritization at an enterprise/portfolio level...ie, evaluating the risk assessments of proposed projects as part of a 'go/no go' decision. It would seem your PMO has a high level of executive commitment if this service is offered and utilized..a good sign of success.

Laura, how would you rate the quality of the risk information you are getting from the proposed projects? Are the program/project managers experienced with this topic?

Please contact me if you'd like a template for the PMO scope definition and sample scope element categories.

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