A PMO, or a Project Management Office, is the central hub of project management activity within an organization. The PMO is responsible for standardizing practice and procedure, documentation and template creation, metrics and measures of success. There are organizations with Project Managers that have not set-up a proper PMO. Instead, the Project Managers create their documents 'from scratch', and make up the rules as they go. This leads to tremendous inefficiencies, and it becomes difficult to build intellectual property when each person works in a silo. In this entry, I'll discuss the benefits of a PMO as well as some must-haves.
What's Important?: If you want to standardize PM practice, there are some basics that should be produced:
- Standard operating procedures: SOPs detail the steps involved in each repeatable task the team is responsible for. in an interactive organization, you may create standard operating procedures for things like storyboard review meetings, scoping and pricing exercises or post-mortems. The SOPs should be detailed, providing step by step instructions. Most importantly, the purpose of the task should be explained, to provide context and background.
- Templates: Standard templates should be created for any document that is produced frequently by the PM group, such as Project Plans or meeting minutes. Formalizing this documentation will ensure consistency in deliverables, and will help each team member produce quality information. Templates also provide an opportunity to identify gaps or requirements that are not being met. Ultimately, the goal of any PMO is to strive for continuous improvement - documenting the way things are done allows the team to comment on how things can also be done better. A PMO can help develop best practice over time.
- Industry standard information: It's critical that Project Managers understand basic information about the industry they work in. In the interactive space, this can include stats about high-bandwidth usage, user trending, or response metrics. This information should be stored centrally and updated as frequently as possible. It will contribute to the overall acumen of the team.
If your organization hasn't already done so, take the lead and begin assembling documentation to set up your own PMO. Don't be reluctant to tweak your set-up if it will meet the needs of your project management team. Solicit input and build up your assets over time. Eventually, your department will be running like a seamless machine.