What is PMO in Project Management?

A Project Management Office, abbreviated to PMO, a group or department in an enterprise that establishes and implements best practices and maintains standards related to project management, planning and execution. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO also serves as an organization's central hub for project documentation, guidance and success metrics. Most PMO processes, methodologies and best practices are based on industry standards, such as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), which was originally published by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certification body for project managers (PM).

The role of a PMO

A PMO is the backbone of a successful project management approach at an organization. It is a function that provides decision support information, although it doesn't make any decisions itself. A PMO underpins the project delivery mechanisms by ensuring that all business change in an organization is managed in a controlled way. A PMO's main purpose is to facilitate project success by establishing best practices, mitigating risks and ensuring on-time project delivery within a specified budget. So what does that actually mean in practice? PMO teams fulfill a variety of functions on a day-to-day basis including:

  • Developing standards and processes.
  • Encouraging (or enforcing where necessary) the use of those standards and processes.
  • Managing resources for projects.
  • Reporting on financial information such as return on investment.
  • Delivering training and mentoring project team members.
  • Monitor and evaluate project performance to established goals.
  • Prepares risk analysis and action plan to mitigate the risks
  • Gathering data about project progress and producing reports.
  • Managing dependencies across multiple projects.

Responsibilities of the PMO Team

Strategic PMOs enable strategic change in organizations. PMOs vary widely. Some serve as a means to standardize project-related governance processes and facilitate sharing of resources and tools. Others serve as centers of excellence, and still others align project and program work to corporate strategy across an enterprise. The PMO often play the role as a guardian of Enterprise Project Management tools and project management methods. There will normally be an expert (or several) in the PMO who can support project managers and their teams with using any project-related software. Here is the role of the stakeholders in PMO:

  • PMO Sponsor - champion and direct the establishment and evolving operation of the PMO. The PMO sponsor will ideally be a member of the main board.
  • Head of PMO - establish and run the permanent office.
  • Head of Project Office - establish and run the temporary Project office.
  • Portfolio Analyst - facilitate the development and on-going management of an optimized portfolio, ensuring senior management decisions lead to the fulfilment of strategic objectives through delivery of projects.
  • Project Specialist - play a proactive role in the promotion of project management methods and standards, implementation of good project management practice, and the monitoring of certain projects.
  • Project Officer - improve the planning and delivery process by collecting and maintaining data in a consistent form.

The Role of PMO vs Project Manager

The project manager manages the constraints (scope, schedule, cost, quality, etc.) of the individual projects, while the PMO manages the methodologies, standards, over all risks/opportunities, metrics, and interdependence among projects at the enterprise level. They actually operate on different levels. While a project manager is accountable for achieving the goals approved for their projects they are responsible, a PMO is accountable for achieving the approved goals for the enterprise.

Typically, the PMO defines and maintains standards of project management within the organization through the standardization and the execution of repeatable and scalable processes. The PMO is also the source of documentation, guidance and metrics regarding the practice of project management and execution. Whereas the role of the PM is to adhere to the guidelines and practices standardized by the PMO during project planning, preparation, and execution.

Key Success factors of PMO

There are many critical success factors that influence the success of a PMO. Here are some key success factors that are worthy of discussion.

  1. Support from the executive team
  2. PMO stakeholder buy-in
  3. Areas of responsibility and competencies
  4. Building trust
  5. Identify reasons for resistance
  6. Be a partner with the stakeholder
  7. Recording progress
  8. Transparency within the company
  9. Appropriate communication
  10. Taking one small step at a time

The Business Benefits of PMO

For any Program Management Office, it is extremely important that you are able to show how your PMO delivers tangible and meaningful business benefits. Here are five of the most important:

  • Align the portfolio of projects with an eye toward future strategy
  • Deliver programs on-time, within budget and according to scope
  • Understand the linkages and dependencies between various projects in the portfolio
  • Improve communication within the program team among all stakeholders
  • Increase the awareness of the value of the PMO and Project Portfolio Management process

To achieve this you not only need good people, good processes, but also supporting technology. It's quite amazing to see nowadays so many PMOs are still trying to manage project selection, prioritization, resource capability planning and deliverables via error prone spreadsheets.

Why Project Management Software?

Teams that have to handle multiple projects can't rely on their memories to keep them all organized. And trying to keep everything together in email is a recipe for disaster. To deliver projects on time and within budget, information needs to be written down, deadlines plotted, and documents shared. Team members need to be in constant communication with one another. That's the kind of information that quickly outgrows email threads and spreadsheets. When your team needs to get serious about managing projects, the solution is to get project management software. If your teams juggle deadlines, resources, and deliverables, they need a dedicated project management tool, Visual Paradigm can help keep your project management teams stay on track in the projects.

Project Management Challenges

  • Hard to get project started and well managed. It involves a lots of upfront investment, trainings and additional resources.
  • Staff do not have the confident or enough maturity to properly kick start business project initiatives.
  • The deliverables of the IT projects didn't align with business goal and objectives.
  • As a result, the proliferation of many different but isolated and ad-hoc initiatives are developed randomly without following any guidelines, standards or procedures.
  • Produce the deliverables required by a standard is often tedious and very time consuming.
  • One-size-fit-all solution, process, tool or software is often not efficient for dealing with different sizes or complexities of projects.

Visual Paradigm Solution

  • Visual Paradigm's s unique Guide-Through Process provides all the instructions, samples, steps, input references for performing analysis, and incrementally developing, classifying and achieving deliverables automatically in a documentation repository.
  • The Guide-Through Process provides step-by-step path for you to navigate back and forth within each development phase and to traverse around different phases using the process navigator. The progress indicator let you know exactly where you are and what need to be done in the next steps.
  • Follow the well tested project management process (compatible with PMBOK®, PRINCE and ITIL) with easy visual modeling language support, enables stakeholders from different domains (project owner, business analyst, enterprise architect and IT professionals) to collaborate easily and effectively.
  • Follow the auto guide-through process, all the information filled, diagrams drawn and analysis performed will be summarized into nicely formatted deliverables.
  • Project Management Guide-Through include an "Identification" phase to determine a project's complexity for adopting the most suitable process scheme.

Now your team can kick-start any size of IT projects easily with our automated guide-through process that embedded step-by-step instructions, input references and samples and develop deliverables incrementally and collaboratively with your team members. Visual Paradigm can significantly enhance and streamline the entire process and allowing your term work collaboratively and effectively with automated task management and notifications with task manager in both desktop and/or over the cloud environment.

  • The Project Management Lifecycle. There are five phases in total.
  • Project Management Lifecycle
    The Project Management Lifecycle. There are five phases in total.
  • TOGAF ADM phase B
    Each of the project phase consists of a set of activities. These are the activities involved in the Identification phase.
  • Guide-through steps by steps
    Each activity consists of a set of steps required to perform.
  • Instructions embedded in step
    There are instructions that teach you how to complete the steps.
  • Guide-through sample
    Besides instructions, you can also get help by reading the samples we provided. Learning is not needed!
  • Project Management form-filling
    Some activities require you to fill-in forms in order to produce deliverable. This screen shows the entering of customer details, in Project Charter.
  • Using Organization Chart
    Some activities require you to draw diagrams. Like this one, it requires drawing an organization chart to representing the organization's reporting structure.
  • Using PERT Chart
    Draw an Enhanced PERT Chart to represent the project schedule and the inter-dependencies of tasks.
  • Using RACI
    Use an RACI chart to represent the responsibilities of different project stakeholders.
  • Using Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in representing work elements and work packages
    Draw a Work Breakdown Structure to represent the structuring of work as well as to derive and obtain a list of work packages.
  • Project Management Repository
    Project Management Repository is where deliverables being archived. While deliverables are automatically archived, you can also put a file into a drawer (in the Architecture Repository) manually.

Turn every software project into a successful one.

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