Setting up a PMO: A quick & easy guide with top tips
What is a PMO?
A Project Management Office (abbreviated to PMO) is a group or department (classed as the ‘office’) in a business, government agency, or enterprise that creates and maintains the standards for project management within their organisation. PMOs are the go-to for documentation, guidance, and metrics - basically anything and everything to do with project management and execution. The PMO aims to standardise the way projects are executed and introduce economies of repetition.
The top 3 areas a PMO should cover
Let’s break it down into simple areas that a PMO should cover:
- Standardisation and Governance
- Metrics and Reporting
- Guidance and Support
Although some PMOs cover only numbers 1 and 2, a fully functioning PMO should cater for all 3.
How to set up Standardisation and Governance for a PMO?
This is usually the simplest area of a PMO to set up and get functioning well.
To start off, it’s important to understand what you’re trying to achieve with this area of the PMO.
Standardisation – You want everyone who is running projects, involved in projects, viewing reports of projects to work in the same way. This means using the same tools, templates, processes etc., and keeping them all up to date where required.
Governance – Once the standardisation is in place and everyone has access to it all, the PMO needs to make sure they’re using them.
- Focus on the most important templates first – Business Case, Reporting packs etc., ones that will get used the most.
- Make the standard templates easy to use and easy to understand, or people will make their own!
- Ensure everything is being followed by conducting regular audits if necessary, as well as ensuring the PMO has access to all project reports and documents that are created.
- Implementing a good PPM tool can ease the manual requirements significantly for PMO staff and for project resources.
What Metrics and Reporting does a PMO need?
Metrics and reporting are incredibly important! Metrics allow us to track progress, gain insights, and spot exceptions. Reports are always needed for stakeholder management.
Key metrics you will want to track within your PMO:
- Number of projects
- Projects per RAG (Red Amber Green) status
- Types of projects (regulatory, compliance etc.)
- Amount of people working on multiple projects
- Average project length
Once you have these basic metrics tracked, accurate and reportable, you can start to add more complex ones around areas such as Risk Management, Budget Management, and Resource Management.
Key reporting items for your PMO to consider:
- Reporting templates that are easy to use and understand
- A simple reporting cadence – weekly, monthly etc.
- Stakeholder map outlining who needs reports, when they need them, and why they need them
- Standardise your reporting templates to make collating easier
- Wherever possible, automate your reporting (PPM software like Fluid should be used to make your life easier here)
- Only measure metrics that matter, don’t measure for measuring’s sake
What Guidance and Support should a PMO provide?
These are areas that aren’t always covered by a PMO, although generally any PMO offers guidance on things like template usage, process etc. Guidance and support on project management areas and knowledge can be hugely beneficial to your organisation as a whole. Junior resources in particular will benefit massively from support on their projects.
Key areas for a PMO to provide guidance and support:
• Risk Management – how to mitigate, report, track, and manage risks
• Budget Management – how to forecast and track actuals
• Planning – how to ensure proper plans are built that are realistic
• Stakeholder Management – how to navigate different stakeholders and personality types
• Make sure your PMO Management team is available when needed for support
• Host regular sessions to provide tips, feedback, look at lessons learnt etc.
• Share knowledge: this can be in one-on-one sessions, sharing articles, sharing examples, YouTube tutorials etc.
• Partner junior resources with senior ones to gain extra knowledge
How Fluid can help PMOs?
Our team have vast experience in the projects, programs, portfolio and PMO space, and that’s why Fluid has been designed and delivered by a team who truly understand what you need from your PPM tool.
Having a centralised PPM software solution to run your PMO and projects through greatly increases the efficiency and output of your PMO. Your metrics are prebuilt, your projects and templates are standardised, and you can focus more on managing your PMO and ensuring proper delivery of projects, without focusing on all the admin.
The prebuilt PMO level dashboards make it easy to absorb data across projects and portfolios, while automated reported functionality saves a lot of reporting time for PMs and the PMO. You can also review data in real time as opposed to reviewing point in time updates.
There are so many ways that Fluid makes your working life easier, let us show you how. Get in touch with us today.