Phase 4 – Project Management Office (PMO) Setup: Implementing the PMO

Establishing the Project Management Office (PMO) is just half the work done because the proof of the pudding lies in eating! 

Implementing the PMO is the true test of its efficiency as a central coordinating body for all planned and ongoing projects within the organization. Upon establishing the processes and procedures required for its smooth functioning, the PMO is all set to work. 

Setting Off The Implementation Process: At this stage, it helps to have on board key sponsors who stand behind the PMO giving it the right credibility and authority to execute the projects. The PMO implementation process has actually begun when you laid out the map for its scope during the initiation phase. What would be the tasks of the PMO, the roles and responsibilities and the resources were all chalked out during the earlier phases. What is needed now is the actual transfer of projects to the PMO so that they can be handled through it. Based on the clearly charted plan for communication, execution and governance, the PMO starts handling the pilot projects. Once you start with the actual work, new things get added to the existing roles and responsibilities. Resource allocation also gains momentum and the PMO understands its optimal utilization. At this point, the PMO needs rapid execution and gaining feedback. 

Have Strong Supporters

The PMO always needs strong supporters, advocates and sponsors to rally behind it for it to become fully functional and useful at that. Make sure that all key stakeholders are kept in the loop because their support proves crucial at all stages. Keeping them all on the same page ensures that everyone understands the objectives and shares the definition of success equally. Maintaining relations with key influencers across the organization, including those at the top as well at the middle management level, ensures full support for the PMO. It is exactly for this very reason that the PMO staff must have excellent soft skills like communication, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and persuasion abilities. 

Identify Pilot Projects

The PMO always begins with a few pilot projects. These are the ones which require minimal intervention from the PMO so that you get a clear understanding of how things roll out during the course of a project. 

Once the PMO is confident that it can pitch in to streamline project roll out and execution, it can take over other complex and long duration projects as well. Pilot projects also work out well when the PMO flounders because mistakes don’t escalate in a small project and can be corrected in time. 

The lessons learned during the pilot implementation must be documented. They serve for a guidebook to refer about what not to do during project management. Mistakes or pitfalls provide a lesson in what went wrong and for what reasons. Not repeating the same mistake is the logical first step towards rectifying them. The PMO may have started quickly, but the time taken to learn from the mistakes and rectifying them must be short enough to not impact the outcome of the project. Evolve as quickly as you started so that the momentum is not hampered. As the PMO team gets more confidence, it can now handle more complex projects with ease. 

Implementing Communication Plan

Continuous communication with all stakeholders is a given for the PMO. Keep everyone informed about the progress, the methods implemented and the outcome at every level. Also don’t fail to communicate if things don’t go as planned and then tag it with corrective measures taken. That shows the earnestness of the PMO in getting things on track quickly. 

Gaining timely and regular feedback is also crucial to the success of the PMO. Invite feedback at all levels and take it seriously. Members of the management, senior and middle level managers, field workers and project managers, customers and others concerned with the project share their feedback which is the key source of how things are moving on a continuous basis.
Make your notes.
Hold discussions with people involved and draft corrective measures.
Keep channels of communication open with the key sponsors so that they know what’s happening with the new PMO. 

Implementing Change Plan and Governance Reporting

  • Projects running within the ambit of the PMO need constant monitoring for progress.
    Any change required in resource allocation or reorientation for it to stay on track must be implemented within the scope of the PMO. 
  • Identify the need for change and communicate the same to stakeholders. Assess the impact of change and preparedness of the PMO for its implementation. 
  • Plan for the change by engaging the stakeholders as well as the transition and integration of change. 
  • Drive the change without losing focus on project outcomes
  • Map the outcomes as a result of the change against the initial plan and note down discrepancies if any. Address these issues by keeping all stakeholders in the loop. 

At all levels of the functioning of the PMO, the reporting of governance lends utmost transparency and accountability for the project and the PMO in general. As the project surges ahead, there could be several factors that impact its progress. This includes changes in the political environment, compliance issues, legal issues, financial constraints, natural events that could severely hamper its progress and so on. 

A robust governance reporting system ensures it identifies any loopholes in compliance issues which can then be addressed quickly to prevent non-compliance. 

PMO Orientation For Other PMO Stakeholders

The foundation of the success of a PMO lay in having all stakeholders on the same page. Irrespective of whether they are directly or indirectly involved in the projects, all stakeholders need to share the vision and the need for implementing the project. It is only then that the PMO can avail of their full and unconditional support. It is the prime duty of the PMO to orient other stakeholders to achieve this objective. 

The next logical step is to plan and track allocation and utilization of resources by the various projects. Avoiding duplication of allocation and having a keen eye on leveraging resources by multiple projects is crucial to the relevance of the PMO. 

Ensure all projects are driven through adhering to the PMO processes and documentation 

Establishing the PMO in itself is an act of the organization towards having a single point of control over all the ongoing projects. The first step of establishing the PMO was to have processes and procedures in place so as to facilitate optimal productivity and adherence to compliances. Ensuring all projects adhere to the processes and documentation requirement as established by the PMO is half the battle won. It sets in motion a process of accountability and transparency so crucial to the success of every project. 

The Metrics For The PMO Success

As you implement PMO, it is important to also put measurement metrics in place that monitor and assess the overall performance of it. Some of the popular key metrics through which the PMO’s success can be measured are:

i.  Time taken to mobilize the project
ii.  Ratio of projects planned vs those implemented
iii. Benefits realized through the projects to the company
iv. Return on Investment for each project.
The PMO also has in place the frequency and mode of collecting this data and analyzing it to gain a fair understanding of the progress of projects and its own efficiency. 

End of Stage Report

This report is created by the Project Manager at the end of every stage and map it against the stage plan. It takes into account the time and resources needed as also the progress achieved. It helps the board of the company to decide whether to allocate more time and resources or to halt or shut down the project. It needs to contain all details that are part of the project’s progress so far, justifying the lag if any and the impact it has had on the project’s run. 

As you reach the end of the implementation stage, the PMO is well on course towards handling things on its own. 

However, this is not where you can ease yourself. As PMO begins its operations, it is important that you constantly assess and identify areas for improvement. Read the article below to know more on how you can improve your PMO. 

Phase 5 – Project Management Office (PMO) Setup: Improving the PMO

Recommended reading: 

Practical Guide for Setting up a successful Project Management Office (PMO)

Phase 1 – Project Management Office (PMO) Setup: Assessment and Strategy

Phase 2 – Project Management Office (PMO) Setup: Initiation

Phase 3 – Project Management Office (PMO) Setup: Establish the PMO



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