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Project Manager : Project Manager Aug Sep 2011
32 Project Manager THE OFFICE IS YOUR PMO READY FOR CHANGE? THE VIEW FROM THE PMO Why creating or improving a PMO should be managed as a project. BY LEIGH COUTIE Prior to establishing or assessing a PMO, and taking steps to manage the change, it’s important to first understand its function. PMO is a generic term that covers functions from Project Support through to Enterprise Portfolio Management Offices – and an infinite number of roles and functions in between. This makes it hard to get a common view of the PMO. However, some principles apply to all PMOs. Research first When assessing and recommending improvements, begin with a fundamental question: what functions do you (and your stakeholders) expect your PMO to undertake? These key functions include: • E xternal Portfolio Management: links into, and strategic alignment with, the organisation; • Internal Portfolio Management: project governance leading to, and covering, project execution; • Project Execution Support: direct support of the project establishment, execution and closure; • People Development: HR management functions; and • Practices and Tools: support mechanisms for management of projects. So, having assessed what your PMO should do, the next questions are: how important are the sub functions and how well are they undertaken or delivered? Armed with the answers to these questions, we get a good idea of what needs to be done to improve performance. You then have a list of changes required (requirements); the work to be done and who can do it (scope and resources); their priorities and possible timelines (schedule). Hmm, this is sounding familiar. Implementing change Creating or improving your PMO should be managed as a project. Hopefully you have all the necessary skills, access to resources and drive necessary to implement this project. Now I know everyone reading this article will be able to run the PMO establishment/upgrade project very successfully. So perhaps this is an opportunity to mentor and develop a more junior project manager or to test out the PMO support or management functions directly. In any case, the establishment or upgrade project needs to be undertaken as an organisational change activity – identify key stakeholders, complete impact assessments, prepare a communications strategy and plan, do a training needs analysis and then implement the communications and training plans. Changing (or introducing) the PMO functions will require significant change within the PMO and, potentially, other groups. Key stakeholders such as executives, managers, steering committee members, sponsors, people managers and project team members will also be affected. Model behaviour The introduction of a new or upgraded operating model and methodology with associated processes, roles and responsibilities, and governance can be daunting. New responsibilities in governance (eg responsibilities of sponsors, stage gate requirements and project audits or health checks) may prompt the people affected to challenge the need for change. This highlights the importance of good and well- managed organisational change management to improve the effectiveness of changes made. So creating or improving a PMO requires: • an understanding of its role; • identification of the steps required to make the changes; and • treating the exercise as a project, paying close attention to the organisational change management aspects. All these items in place minimises the effects of change, allowing you to take advantage of your new and improved PMO. ••• Leigh Coutie is a professional engineer, commercial pilot and consulting Project Director. He specialises in PMO assessments and improvement programs, data centre establishment and relocations, Service Oriented Architecture and systems integration. K THINKSTOCK
June July 2011
Project Manager Oct Nov 2011