Friday, July 13, 2007

Program Office Setup

Thought of sharing my recent experience in setting up Program Office.

Setting up a program or project management office (PMO) to oversee organization or department-wide business & IT initiatives can be a daunting task, especially when no formal processes currently exist beyond the individual project manager level.

Although few would dispute the benefits such processes, procedures, project redundancy and relevance, control over costs, etc…but for successfully establish a PMO, its important to gain agreement at the start of the process, as to the responsibilities. And to understand Business goals expected from Program/Project Office.

A useful and speedy technique is to workshop the possible activities with the key players, and gain consensus as to what the office is intended to do. The starting point is to create a list of possible activities, then hold a workshop to evaluate the responsibility of the office, for each activity. It is likely in some cases there will be no activity, and in other cases, the activities will need to be split down further. It is also useful if the office is not to have responsibility, to identify who does have the responsibility.

PMO can play varying charter range from simple offices for managing large projects or programs, to strategic planning entities inside of project driven organizations, the most common being Information Technology. Comprehensive approach is to undertake basic practices under PMO responsibilities: Project Management - establishing Project Management process, methodologies for execution of business & IT projects. Resource Management - projects staffing to manage resource time and conflicts management. Portfolio Management - organizing and tracking portfolio of initiatives and managing priority based on business needs (and in my case-- also responsible for processes, change management, strategy planning and expenses management). PMO will be commissioned to maintain the focus on the qualitative, quantitative facets of projects. Having consistent tools, procedures, & competent personnel that execute these integrated procedures.

Below list is in no particular order and not definitive. It is intended to form the basis of a review of the role. Each organization will have specific activities that may, or may not be included in the role of a Project Office.
  • Methodology & Processes-- creation, Standardization & rationalization processes and procedures
  • Tools-- training, timesheet, MPP, etc...
  • Scope, Sizing, Budget, Planning, Mentoring/tracking & Change Mgmt
  • Dependencies, Risk & Issue Management-- create and manage log
  • Maintain Documentation Library-- standards, examples, project docs,..
  • Communication/Reporting & Escalation-- overview, status, projections, earned value, scope changes, cost vs benefit, budget vs expenditure, escalation process,..
  • Audit-Compliance with organizational standards
  • Post Implement Review
  • Acceptance & Conformance-- standards & deliverables
  • Configuration Management
  • Business Interaction
Setting PMO can be treated as any other projects. This will help in effective planning & execution. Identify the success criteria for Project Office in tangible terms by establishing metrics in order to measure benefits as a result of PMO implementation. Its important to make sure PMO doesn't carry an impression as yet another level of bureaucracy instead a value-additions for business. Thus, Top-Down approach works better.

PMO full scope includes strategy and usually attempt to establishing PMO usually involves a project specific suite of functions.

Interesting Read: Why you need PMO? and Videos: SoftwareProjects

No comments: