Projects run outside of the umbrella of a program management office (PMO) are subject to risks and missed opportunities that those under an effective program management office may be sheltered against. Just as a conductor unifies musical performers into a harmonious symphony, a PMO guides and ensures cohesiveness of the organization’s resources and initiatives and keeps in tune with the organization’s goals and strategic roadmap. Once a decision is made to build a program management office, it is prudent to assess and determine the best approach to establishing the entity in order to avoid common pitfalls. Based on decades of Clarkston’s experience in building and working in program management, this eBook will expand upon the following key steps for success and how to avoid those common pitfalls.
- Define PMO Objectives and Success Metrics
- Determine Roles and Responsibilities
- Establish Standards
- Align and Engage with Key Stakeholder Groups
- Implement and Monitor
Steps to Establish a Successful PMO
A program management office that is built with a strong foundation will reap benefits that are multifold. It’s widely known that a key benefit of a PMO is the ability to drive efficiencies by leveraging synergies and managing interdependencies, thus, avoiding confusion and redundancies. A strong PMO also helps to foster an engaged organization aware of the ongoing changes and more likely to accept those changes. Acknowledging these pivotal benefits of a well-established and high-performing program management office, here are the key steps in establishing a successful PMO:
1. Define PMO Objectives and Success Metrics
Depending on the organization’s needs and the drivers for establishing a program management office, the output could manifest in a number of different variants. The Project Management Institute studies and publishes information around the evolution of the different models of PMOs. For the sake of this paper and based on Clarkston’s experience, we’ll simplify the various models: at its essence, a program management office could fall anywhere in the spectrum of these 3 levels:
- Level 1: A Tactical PMO Model: provides a consistent framework, tools, and templates to execute projects. Provides program-level status reports to Leadership. Does not take part in portfolio management.
- Level 2: A Supporting PMO Model: in addition to the responsibilities of a Tactical PMO, a Supporting PMO has additional ownership responsibilities to ensure central control of the major projects – ensuring adequate resource management and accountability for upward management. Usually does not take part in portfolio management.
- Level 3: A Strategic, Governing PMO Model: in addition to having both the Tactical and Supporting PMOs’ responsibilities, a Strategic, Governing PMO is a high-value model focused on throughput, delivery acceleration, portfolio selection, and management. It participates in project selection based on knowledge of the organization’s business objectives, strategic roadmap, and resources. It guides and collaborates with project managers, executives, and other stakeholders to ensure focus on productivity, efficiency, and business impact.
Download the full eBook below to learn how to establish a successful program management office.