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Practice Areas: PMO
What tips would you give to someone who has recently been tasked with setting up a PMO?
Network:1064



Where would you start? What steps would you follow? Things to be cautious of?
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Anonymous
PMO's are born out of strategy, so in the first place strategic alignment PMO objectives is a natural expectation.
I think you must set up the PMO charter, and clearly define set of objectives in the first place to act as a guide.
Thereafter, in my opinion the general management cycle of Planning, Organising, Staffing, Executing and Monitoring & Control must be followed as a norm for any continuing entity.

PMO's are considered high performance organisations, so the policies towards staffing and administration must be defined using best practices adhering to the organisational principles.
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1 reply by Cris Casey
Feb 17, 2017 2:15 PM
Cris Casey
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Sorry Anonymous, while I agree with your basic approach (PM 101), I have to disagree with some of your overly broad statements.

Not all PMOs are born out of strategy. There are some very tactical reasons why organizations may want to establish a PMO that have nothing to do with strategy. It all depends on the expectations of what the PMO will provide.

"PMO's are considered high performance organisations". By who? PMOs may aspire to be high performing, but in a lot of cases they are nothing more than administrative gatekeepers that retard rather than accelerate progress. I'm curious about what a high performing PMO organization looks like. Do you have any examples?
Network:935



You can also look into procuring a service to help you set it up - the CEB PMO Leadership Council has a ton of great resources and support for new PMO's. https://www.cebglobal.com
Network:373



Here are my tips, having been through this exercise on macro and micro levels:

1. Be clear on the reason(s) for the PMO.
Oftentimes expectations are unrealistic, especially where implementation and compliance are concerned.

2. Make sure the span of control is matched to the proper executive.
Without organizational support from the top, few PMOs achieve their missions.

3. Use your stakeholders to help define the mission and get buy-in.
Once you've got 1 & 2 understood, get everyone who will be directly affected by the decision to help craft and validate a mission statement and process guidelines.

4. Start small
Too often, PMO-start-ups try to tackle too much too fast. Test the mission statement and process guidelines with a small number of projects to see how things work. Then revise the initial assumptions to fit reality.

5. Do technology last
There's nothing worse than being hobbled/constrained by a PMO application before truly understanding what is trying to be accomplished and getting proper buy-in. Resist the temptation to try a technical fix and focus on the piece that will make or break the PMO - the folks whose compliance and support is critical to making it a success.
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2 replies by Andrew Craig and Darren McCrea
Feb 17, 2017 7:10 PM
Darren McCrea
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Great suggestion to have stakeholders help craft the mission statement. Nice way to get their buy-in and get support for the PMO.
Feb 18, 2017 9:18 AM
Andrew Craig
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Great tips / pathway Chris. Thanks!
Network:373



Sorry Anonymous, while I agree with your basic approach (PM 101), I have to disagree with some of your overly broad statements.

Not all PMOs are born out of strategy. There are some very tactical reasons why organizations may want to establish a PMO that have nothing to do with strategy. It all depends on the expectations of what the PMO will provide.

"PMO's are considered high performance organisations". By who? PMOs may aspire to be high performing, but in a lot of cases they are nothing more than administrative gatekeepers that retard rather than accelerate progress. I'm curious about what a high performing PMO organization looks like. Do you have any examples?
Network:1028



The only way to have success is to create it from the strategy. Strategy is the way the organization react to environmental stimulus and/or create environmental stimulus. Organizations define functions to answer/create environmental stimulus. With the functions organizations create the architecture and that is because architecture follows the strategy. So, if organization define project management functions then it must decide where to locate that. Inside a new business unit? The name of that business unit will be PMO? That is the only way to avoid things you listen outside there like "the PMO has not strategical level", "the PMO has not top management support" and others. Nothing inside an organization has a reason to exists if is not created from strategy. Is a matter of add value.
Network:35



Feb 17, 2017 2:01 PM
Replying to Cris Casey
...
Here are my tips, having been through this exercise on macro and micro levels:

1. Be clear on the reason(s) for the PMO.
Oftentimes expectations are unrealistic, especially where implementation and compliance are concerned.

2. Make sure the span of control is matched to the proper executive.
Without organizational support from the top, few PMOs achieve their missions.

3. Use your stakeholders to help define the mission and get buy-in.
Once you've got 1 & 2 understood, get everyone who will be directly affected by the decision to help craft and validate a mission statement and process guidelines.

4. Start small
Too often, PMO-start-ups try to tackle too much too fast. Test the mission statement and process guidelines with a small number of projects to see how things work. Then revise the initial assumptions to fit reality.

5. Do technology last
There's nothing worse than being hobbled/constrained by a PMO application before truly understanding what is trying to be accomplished and getting proper buy-in. Resist the temptation to try a technical fix and focus on the piece that will make or break the PMO - the folks whose compliance and support is critical to making it a success.
Great suggestion to have stakeholders help craft the mission statement. Nice way to get their buy-in and get support for the PMO.
Network:35



Hi Kristin, I am in that boat right now and, beyond all of the great input you have already received, think that Mark Price Perry's article "Top 10 Tips for PMO Setup" does a nice job of answering your question.
Network:790



Feb 17, 2017 2:01 PM
Replying to Cris Casey
...
Here are my tips, having been through this exercise on macro and micro levels:

1. Be clear on the reason(s) for the PMO.
Oftentimes expectations are unrealistic, especially where implementation and compliance are concerned.

2. Make sure the span of control is matched to the proper executive.
Without organizational support from the top, few PMOs achieve their missions.

3. Use your stakeholders to help define the mission and get buy-in.
Once you've got 1 & 2 understood, get everyone who will be directly affected by the decision to help craft and validate a mission statement and process guidelines.

4. Start small
Too often, PMO-start-ups try to tackle too much too fast. Test the mission statement and process guidelines with a small number of projects to see how things work. Then revise the initial assumptions to fit reality.

5. Do technology last
There's nothing worse than being hobbled/constrained by a PMO application before truly understanding what is trying to be accomplished and getting proper buy-in. Resist the temptation to try a technical fix and focus on the piece that will make or break the PMO - the folks whose compliance and support is critical to making it a success.
Great tips / pathway Chris. Thanks!
Network:31



Understand the mission and goals... i.e. within a charter. Having solid support of executive sponsorship is seminal as the PMO responsibilities vary widely depending on the mission. This will also play a role into staffing needs, process development, training, etc.
Network:1360



Just three things:
A champion, PMO leader with an approved charter and a budget/resources/6-12 month strategic forecast and alignment to performance expectations for the C-Suite.

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