Are you a strong enough project manager to join the PMO?

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Three things every successful project management office (PMO) manager should know: 1.You will require the patience of a saint 2. You will say the same things again and again 3. You will need to cajole, herd and manage project managers to do things in the right way. 

Working in the PMO is not likely to gain you much in the popularity stakes – but it is an essential function within any organisation.

The PMO is responsible for the governance of each and every project within the company.  All the aspects of a project – policies, regulations, functions, processes, procedures, etc – come under their area of responsibility.

On joining the organisation, managers will need to be trained to ensure that they are cognisant of all the requirements that have to be met in their position of responsibility, creating mechanisms for them to apply all the ‘rules’ to their projects with ease. 

It is down to the PMO to monitor that projects are run and completed within this framework; that all the project phases from initiation to development through to operation are planned and have the necessary quality checks; that deliverables are clearly defined and managed; that risks and issues are managed and reported; that the client is suitably informed of progress; that costs are maintained; the list goes on.

In an ever changing world, the PMO must be aware of project impacting trends/changes; ensure ongoing alignment with our international parent company.  As an extension of that, they must manage the introduction of new requirements and ensure a suitable mechanism and pragmatic approach. The PMO provides the consultancy and SME support for the project community as well as managing its own stakeholders in the provision of accurate management information.

Throughout the life cycle of a project the required approval and directives have to be obtained when appropriate, with all the necessary checks and balances.  This will all need to be stored in a central repository where approved persons can check the current status and that all the necessary bells and whistles are in place, thus enabling the projects to pass the internal and external audits as they arise as just one example of the wider area of engagement.
 
The function is often seen as having a purely administrational role, sub-ordinate to that of the project managers, but the brief encompasses far more!  It holds the pieces together, making sure that nothing falls through the cracks; that the project is timely, fit for purpose, in line with management thinking and trends as well as within budget and quality.  A necessary and sometimes arduous task – but someone’s got to do it!


This is a Project Excellence blog written by T-Systems, headline sponsor at the 2014 APM Project Management Awards.

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Posted by Sereina Fielder on 8th Jul 2014

About the Author
Head of the Project Management Office within the Delivery function. Positioned within the Solutions & Projects Service Line which also includes Solutions, Enterprise Architects, Programme and Project Managers who are gathered within the Strategic Project Management Group. Educated in Switzerland with a lengthy stint as a PMO Consultant before joining T-Systems 6 years ago.

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