Thursday, July 9, 2009

Project Management Offices

The concept of a project management office, sometimes referred to as the PMO, has been around for several years. You’ll find that many organizations are establishing PMOs in many different forms. PMOs might also be called project offices or program management offices. The PMO is usually a centralized organizational unit that oversees the management of projects and programs throughout the organization. The most common reason a company starts a project management office is to establish and maintain procedures and standards for project management methodologies.

In some organizations, project managers and team members might report directly to the PMO and are assigned to projects as they are initiated. In other organizations, the PMO provides support functions only for projects and trains others in project management procedures and techniques. Still others, depending on their size and function, have experts available that assist project managers in project planning, estimating, and business assumption verification tasks. They serve as mentors to junior-level project managers and act as consultants to the senior project managers.

The PMO usually has responsibility for maintaining and archiving project documentation for future reference. This office compares project goals with project progress and gives feedback to the project teams. It also measures the project performance of active projects and suggests corrective actions. The PMO evaluates completed projects for their adherence to the project plan and asks questions like “Did the project meet the time frames established?” and “Did it stay within budget?” and “Was the quality acceptable?”

Project management offices are becoming more common in organizations today, if for no other reason than to serve as a collection point for project documentation. Some PMOs are fairly sophisticated and prescribe the standards and methodologies to be used in all project phases across the enterprise. Still others provide all these functions and also offer project management consulting services. However, the establishment of a PMO is not required in order for you to apply good project management practices to your next project.

1 comment:

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