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Rick & Stan projectmanagementofficers

Setting up and managing a PMO

Tell me, what is a PMO in your opinion?

Stan: A PMO is a level between projects and upper management. You’re a type of funnel for all information that comes from the projects. You need to make sure the information comes to you, and then you need to look at who in the organisation needs which information.

Rick: It’s mainly inventorying which key holder needs which information, you’re the hub between the different levels in management, who all have their own informational needs.

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You’re setting up a PMO at a client on MOJEO’s behalf, what is your step-by-step plan?

Rick: It always starts by interviewing the deciding stakeholders. The people who actually gave the question to MOJEO. Stan: I completely agree, you also follow up on the inventory phase by opening the conversation with the project managers and other stakeholders within the organisation. There’s a lot of information floating around that you want to include in this phase in a structured way.

Based on that inventory, you look at what they actually need. You translate this into a plan; you’ll break down the entire project into building blocks. We use building blocks at MOJEO, these are really all parts that create the foundation of a well-functioning PMO. Starting with that need/problem at the client, we choose a number of building blocks to work with. A company may not have insight into which project employee is active on a project for instance; MOJEO can adjust the Resource Management building block to this. It may also occur that projects simply start without a clear scope; the ‘Starting Projects’ building block can solve this. A client may also notice that the reports of projects to management aren’t consistent; MOJEO adjusts the ‘Reporting’ building block for this.

Stan: Based on the inventory phase, you basically give a recommendation: I would like to develop these building blocks in this order, I first want to focus on building block 1 in this project because I believe this is what you need. I want to implement building block 1 via these three steps, the deadline is 16 June. Rick: You pick up each building block as a ‘project’, you describe the schedule, requirements, and deliverables. Rick: It’s not always the case that you immediately pick up the most important building block first. You may identify the ‘low-hanging fruit’ first, so you can show decisiveness to the organisation. That makes the added value immediately visible. Stan: I think we’ve named everything from the inventory phase, so we mostly start building our project with a golden edge.

What does the daily management of a PMO involve?

Rick: That of course depends on which building blocks are part of the PMO. In general, you’re continuously working to track the progress of several projects and to engage these if necessary. In addition, you write daily reports for several people within the organisation. Stan: 60-80% is line work, at a certain time you simply know when, to whom, and how you distribute information. And then you need between 20-40% of the time to further optimise the PMO itself. We don’t stick with the first version of a PMO. We continuously keep developing the PMO so it becomes strong in the organisation. Rick: Exactly, we do this by conducting interviews again and then processing the feedback for instance.

I understand, and what exactly is the added value of the PMO for the client?

Stan: You’re working for management because most reports are directed at them. At the same time you unburden the project managers because you standardise things. Rick: A PMO unburdens project managers and informs & acts towards the higher management. Management can use this information to direct the organisation. You need to be an office people can come to and that distributes information and translates it to different layers within your organisation. That’s the real essence.

How do you try to provide the PMO with a golden edge?

Rick: The Mojeo team has broad knowledge regarding PMOs. Sharepoint, Jira, or whichever tool; there’s always someone within MOJEO who knows something about it. There’s a whole team behind it. Stan: Additionally, I think it works to our benefit that we’re a company that has been focussed on PMOs for a while. Rick: We have a lot of experience at many different types of organisations, from government bodies to commercial companies.

Stan: I think our approach is really strong in that. With the building blocks, we can approach problems in an organisation with a very tailor-made solution. We don’t have standard partners, we work with software that works best for the client concerned, so completely tailor made. Rick: That’s right, and in addition there’s the fact that we also close those building blocks as separate projects, this clearly shows what we’re doing and which schedule we’re following.

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