Seven Elements to Define a PMO - Executive Salad

Seven Elements to Define a PMO

Before you can start up a PMO, you must first define the purpose and what the PMO will look like. Without this foundation, all of the other work you do will be in jeopardy. This helps gain clarity and agreement on what you are doing and why. You can think of this as chartering the PMO. This information is communicated to clients, stakeholders and your own staff so that everyone starts off with a common set of expectations.

The following major components are used to define your PMO.

Mission. Describes what the PMO does, how it is done, and for whom. It is a very general statement, usually aligning the PMO to the value it provides to the business. An example of a PMO mission statement is “The Acme Project Management Office (PMO) supports project managers to enable them to deliver projects faster, cheaper, and with higher quality.”

Sponsor. All organizations do not have a sponsor, but a PMO typically does. The sponsor is the person responsible for the PMO funding, and in many cases the sponsor is the manager that the PMO reports to. Sponsors are important for all initiatives, but they are absolutely critical for a culture change initiative such as this.

Customers. Customers are the main individuals or groups that receive the benefits of the products and services your PMO provides. While there may be many stakeholders (below), it is important to recognize who the customers are. They should be the ones the PMO focuses on – to help them meet their project and business objectives.

Stakeholders. These are the specific people or groups who have an interest or a partial stake in the products and services your PMO provides. Internal stakeholders could include organizations you work with, but who are not directly under the PMO umbrella.

Objectives. Objectives are concrete statements describing what the PMO is trying to achieve in the short-term, perhaps up to one year. The objectives should be written at a low level, so that they can be evaluated at the end of the year to see whether they were achieved or not.

Products / Services. Products describe tangible items that the PMO produces, and are typically produced as the result of a project. Services refer to work done for clients or stakeholders that does not result in the creation of tangible deliverables. Services provide value by fulfilling the needs of others through people contact and interaction. The PMO achieves its objectives through the creation of products and the delivery of services.

An organization assessment is used to determine the right products and services the PMO should offer.

Transitional Activities. Transitional activities are the specific activities and projects that are required to implement the PMO. If the PMO is new, these activities describe the work required to build and staff the new organization. Most of this work is designed to build the products and services described previously with input from the organization assessment.

There are other aspects of the organization that can be defined as well, including the PMO vision, principles, goals, skills, roles and responsibilities

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