Good communication can help to reduce conflict in many contexts, and clear governance policies enable communication of problems and concerns in a formal and constructive way. The route for escalation is made clear in the governance, so that problems can correctly be communicated upwards. To communicate upwards may mean through the project manager to the project sponsor or project board, or to external functions within the organisation. How is project governance communicated and implemented in the projects you work on?
Is the route for communicating upwards clear to you, whether within the project, or between the project manager and the project sponsor? If your study has introduced you to new ideas about governance can you suggest principles that your organisation or your project need to consider to improve the governance of projects? Might you be able to discuss this with work colleagues?
In this section of this course, communication of governance arrangements is last but this may be the section that is most relevant to this activity. How easily you were able to address the first part of the activity probably depends on how well governance arrangements are communicated, and you need to have been able to do this before you could consider the final question in the activity.
Good governance, as discussed earlier, requires clear roles and responsibilities and this may be achieved through a permanent structure within the host organisation. This structure then supports the temporary structure of each project that is undertaken. In an organisation that has portfolios and programmes, the permanent structure will usually support all the projects, programmes and portfolios. This section considers the support structure, i. Infrastructure provides support for programmes, portfolios and projects, and is the focal point for the development and maintenance of P3 management within an organisation.
A Project Management Office PMO is a management structure that standardises the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of one or more projects. The role of the PMO is a difficult one to define accurately due to the variations in approach by organisations and individuals.
This section gives generic classifications to define the main aspects of the role and to discuss the possible variations in structure, approaches and responsibilities. A Centre of Excellence is organisation-wide and has a much broader remit as the name suggests. In larger, more mature organisations, the PMO has grown as a separate body from the management of the project.
It can be a career path in itself or it can be an opportunity for a project manager to bring their own experience into a PMO at the same time as refreshing their own skills. To have a PMO or not depends on the size and type of the projects, the available resource pool within the organisation and the skills of those resources. Routine administration is required on all projects, programmes and portfolios.
On small projects this may be performed by the project manager, possibly supported by a deputy project manager, but on medium to large projects and all programmes and portfolios, a project manager and the programme and portfolio manager needs support in handling day-to-day administration.
There may also be a need for specialist knowledge, for example, in risk, quality or finance. These skills may be beyond the skills of the project manager, especially early in their career, and may therefore need to be resourced from elsewhere, either inside or outside of the organisation. Additional support for the project manager may be available from the operational functions of an organisation, for example in finance or procurement. Alternatively, a support office may be set up for the specific project and then disbanded when that project is completed.
A permanent PMO is likely to be established when a role is recognised that exists beyond the lifetime of an individual project. An example of this would be where there are organisational requirements for standard documentation. This may be time consuming for a project manager, who might need to familiarise themselves with each type of documentation as the project progresses, whereas a PMO that handles the documentation for several or many projects would build experience in completing the documentation.
There is also a need for a PMO where there are programmes and portfolios of projects so that the support for a project is provided by the programme or portfolio office or where there is a group of independent projects that can benefit from sharing the expertise and resources of a PMO.
This is common in large government contracts, such as the armed forces, or the larger government departments, such as the Department of Environment. The construction and utility supply electricity, oil and gas industries are two other examples of the type of project that requires dedicated support facilities with specialist skills, experience, expertise, tools and techniques to help in their management.
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Experience in a PMO can be accumulated in many aspects of project work within the organisation so the PMO may develop over time to become a Centre of Excellence. A permanent PMO has a place within the development of project management skills for the organisation, not just for individual projects. As well as supporting organisational and project governance it may also act as the knowledge broker for learning from projects and coordinate training and staff development for projects. Without a PMO, the project manager will need to ensure that the necessary support services are in place for the particular project.
The project manager may take on these activities themselves or make sure team members are available. For a small standalone project, there may not be sufficient resource for a specific support function. The APM recommends that in this case the project manager should seek as much support as possible with the project administration, and that the project sponsor should support the project manager in this APM, a.
When a PMO or other support function is decided upon, its purpose, roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined and be communicated effectively to the support function and the project, or projects, they are supporting. The scope needs to be clearly understood by all so that the relationship between the support function and the projects has the opportunity to be mutually beneficial.
PMO relationships with the project manager, the project and the organisation are discussed later. There are different ways to classify a PMO. This section uses generic classifications depending on the level to which the PMO is responsible for the development of the project management function within the organisation. It has no responsibility for development of the project management function. In the latter case the responsibilities are more stringent and managerial than pure support. It is important that the responsibilities of the PMO or PSO of any type are defined by the organisation and are clear and unambiguous.
The intermediate PMO has some responsibility for the development of the project management function within the organisation. It needs to maintain and promulgate the processes, procedures and other mechanisms to enable the operation of common standards of project management within all projects undertaken by the organisation.
This includes use of standard tools, and possibly specialist tools, existing within the organisation to facilitate the monitoring, control and status reporting of projects: scheduling, financial, risk management, document management, status recording and governance, for example. An advanced PMO may have wide-ranging responsibilities for the setting up and development of the project management function within the organisation.
In this case the PMO will lead on the design, and develop, implement, operate, maintain and communicate the processes, procedures and other mechanisms needed to enable the operation of common standards of project management within all projects undertaken by the organisation. This includes the definition, selection, introduction, implementation and use of standards, tools, processes, procedures, modes of operation deemed necessary by and within the organisation to facilitate the monitoring, control, management and status reporting of the projects in question e.
To enable an advanced PMO to carry out these tasks, the knowledge and skills of the PMO personnel need to be superior to those required for the basic and even intermediate PMO. The selection, education, training and continuous development of the PMO personnel required to carry out these tasks is also the responsibility of the PMO. An alternative approach to classifying the type of PMO is to consider the degree of control and influence that the PMO has on the projects within the organisation.
This is the approach recommended by the PMI:. Supportive PMOs, or PSOs, provide a consultative role to projects by supplying templates, best practices, training, access to information and lessons learned from other projects. This type of PMO serves as a project repository. The degree of control provided by the PMO is low. Controlling PMOs provide support and require compliance through various means. Compliance may involve adopting project management frameworks or methodologies, using specific templates, forms and tools, or conformance to governance.
The degree of control provided by the PMO is moderate. Directive PMOs take control of the projects by directly managing the projects. The degree of control provided by the PMO is high. The services provided by a PMO depend strongly on the size, maturity and capability of the organisation.
The larger the organisation, the more projects they undertake and therefore there is a greater need for project support. Consequently the capability grows to provide more, and higher level, support. Which services are included in the responsibilities of the PMO for each type of activity will depend on the type of PMO and their role within the organisation and the function of the organisation.
All types of PMO, whether basic, intermediate or advanced, will be involved with planning and scheduling. For a basic PMO this may be entering and updating information generated by the project manager, whereas an advanced PMO may take the lead in actively seeking information from different parts of the project team, drafting schedules and recommending resources drawing on experience from similar projects already undertaken within the organisation. Again, all types of PMO will be involved in administration, but the degree of administration and the level of autonomy of the PMO will vary.
A basic PMO will provide the necessary administrative support to the project manager but the authority will remain with the project manager. An advanced PMO may have a high level of influence or authority when interacting with the project manager. For example, an advanced PMO may collate the information and prepare documentation for the project board when assessing the continued financial viability of the project compared with the business case at gate reviews or stage reviews.
A basic PMO typically reports only to the project manager, who then reports to the project sponsor and senior management. The way in which an intermediate or advanced PMO and the project manager interact to produce reports, for example, who takes the lead and who supports, will depend on the roles and responsibilities of both the project manager and the PMO within the organisation and the governance structure. A basic PMO may undertake the purely administrative support, whereas an advanced PMO may be involved in the collating and reporting to senior management responsible for the prioritisation of projects and the allocation of resources.
At this level the advanced PMO is supporting decision making at the executive level.
This group of services is firmly in the realm of the advanced PMO and has a broader function in supporting the development of organisational maturity within the field of project management. The PMI classification shows that PMOs can be powerful and, in some activities and situations, may have more control over a project than the project manager. Therefore, the roles and responsibilities between the project manager, the PMO and other parts of the organisation such as project sponsor and senior management need to be clearly defined and effectively communicated.
It is more often concerned with increased bureaucracy and constrained decision making.
Demarcations between PMOs and project managers are an interesting question for stakeholder management and the balance of power between them. The need for clearly defined roles and responsibilities had already been mentioned. Earlier in this course we highlighted the need for good communication skills and these are equally needed in stakeholder management and in communicating and negotiating with senior managers. The PMI refers to the PMO as the liaison between the corporate management systems and the project management and portfolio and programme management , particularly in bringing together the data and information needed by organisational senior management.
In undertaking this, and other support roles, the PMO brings together projects within the organisation that may not be related to each other in any way except being supported or administered by the PMO. It is therefore essential that the PMO functions and structures are defined by the needs of the organisation. This is especially important where the PMO itself is a stakeholder and decision maker.
As a decision maker a PMO is likely to be making recommendations about the continuation, or not, of projects to ensure that organisational activities, and the deployment of organisational resources, remain aligned with the business objectives. In this context, the PMO and the project manager are pursuing objectives that may not be the same; whereas the PMO is concentrating on the strategic organisational objectives, the project manager is focused on the objectives of the specific projects.
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For example, from PMI these differences might include:. This is not to suggest that the PMO and the project manager are frequently in conflict. The decision to go ahead with a specific project would have been part of the business strategy but there may be changes in the business environment that might give rise, from time to time, to differences. Communication between the PMO and the project manager is needed to discuss and resolve such differences. There will be a relationship between the PMO and the organisational quality assurance team and when working well this will be symbiotic, so that experience of one supports the other and problems identified in one area, which might impact elsewhere, can be shared, explored and resolved.
The PMO or other members of specific project teams may be represented on the quality assurance team. When an audit is due, the project manager typically prepares the project team. This preparation can build the team confidence in responding to the auditor. The PMO may support the project manager in audit preparation. An advanced PMO will have organisational oversight for quality assurance within the governance structure.
This will include spot checks and scheduled audits. Since audits are undertaken by someone outside of the project, a member of the PMO may be the auditor. Training PMO staff as auditors develops this expertise within the organisation and also can support sharing of good practice. Organisations with a history of undertaking projects probably already have a PMO or an equivalent. This section initially takes the approach of designing a PMO, so we can think about what project managers and project teams want from the PMO. The PMO also has responsibilities to the organisation, which should not be dismissed.
The first question is whether a PMO is needed at all.
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A PMO is probably not needed if the organisation is small, deals mainly with smaller projects, and the departments in the organisation interface effectively with projects. In such a case it might increase the bureaucracy of projects without adding value. You are an experienced project manager in a large and mature organisation. To encourage the sharing of good practice between the PMO and project managers, project managers work for a period of two to six months within the PMO at least once every three years. You are currently working within the PMO and have been invited to give a talk at the local university to project management students.
What do you think you would say in your talk? Does your organisation need a PMO? When considering the support needed for projects within an organisation the following questions need to be asked:. All these different attributes, conditions and criteria will determine the need for a PMO and the shape that the PMO needs to take. If your organisation already has a PMO then similar questions can be asked to review whether the PMO provides the support needed and identify any changes which might be required.
This is a high level approach. The stakeholders would all need to be consulted and an approach agreed by all major stakeholders. Without this commitment the introduction of a PMO, or changes to an existing PMO, might be resisted and the opportunities to add value would be reduced. This free course, Project governance and Project Management PMO , has introduced you to the principles of effective project governance, and the roles and responsibilities of the project board, the project sponsor, the project manager and the Project Management Office.
A PMO or Project Support Office may provide a range of services, and these need to be agreed and understood by all the project stakeholders. As for all governance within organisations, effective communication is very important and is a key skills for all project managers.
The topics we have discussed, such as the different types of PMO and the types and variety of services that they may provide, will enable you to reflect on your own experience of project management administration and support, and identify possible improvements. Pre-Agile saw the Waterfall methodology being used for software development, but there were many issues due to its non-adaptive design constraints, the lack of customer feedback available during the development process, and a delayed testing period.
Best suited for: Larger projects that require maintaining stringent stages and deadlines, or projects that have been done various times over where chances of surprises during the development process are relatively low. Six Sigma is project management methodology first introduced by engineers at Motorola in It aims to improve quality by reducing the number of errors in a process by identifying what is not working and then removing it from the process. It uses quality management methods, which are mostly empirical and statistical, as well as the expertise of people who are specialists in these methods.
The letters stand for:. There is also a Lean Six Sigma methodology which is committed to improving team performance by systematically eliminating waste and reducing variation. Best suited for: Larger companies and organizations that want to improve quality and efficiency through a data-driven methodology. PMI stands for the Project Management Institute which is a not-for-profit membership association, project management certification, and standards organization.
It states that there are five process groups that are prevalent in almost every project. They are;. Along with this, it includes best practices, conventions, and techniques that are considered the industry standard. Regularly updating their guide to ensure that they echo the most up-to-date project management practices, the PMBOK is currently up to its sixth edition which was published in print and online in However, it can be used for when you want to weigh in on the best practices for your project.
You may find that more than one of the aforementioned project management methodologies seem ideal for your project, or hey, none of them would work. More from Dinnie Muslihat. More from Zenkit. Very good overview btw, great work. Cheers for the tip! Hi Aruni, Establishing a retail shop seems to me something that may involve a few uncertainties and surprises, so I would probably recommend something Agile as they provide leeway and flexibility. Thanks for the tip, Abdulrahman.
Sounds like something that could be included in a revised version of this article. Hi Dinnie, great article and very informative. I currently work in a company and we execute contract both government and private contract. I was hired in February and there were 41 contract job being worked on. I am having a hard time determining which methodology to use and how to track these projects.
Most of them have been completed. Hi Chris, Construction and procurement are traditionally associated with Waterfall, however, I would advise to do further research on whether or not this would apply to your situation. Thanks for the article. It amazing how it articulates so much knowledge, on a succinct way and gives to the user a quick and sufficient overview of the PM methods as well as the initial boost for a further research deepening down, if needed.
Thanks in advance for your reply! Thanks, Yannis! Nice Info! You think is a good option for? Hi Good afternoon. Hope that helps! Hii good afternoon……Nice Info……Which company use agile method for quality assurance in software development? Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
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Thank you for getting in touch. Our team will respond as soon as possible. Skip to content Different tasks require different tools, use Zenkit to manage any project! Login Sign up for free. Different tasks require different tools, use Zenkit to manage any project! Please Share. Zenkit 2 min read. Good article, very informative and helpful.
Good job Dinnie.