Project Management Office - A central service for agile IT Project Management

Using a PMO to optimally disseminate and supervise project management know-how

Projects are the central instrument for driving forward change and innovation in a company. For this reason, the crucial factor of project management know-how should be controlled via a central service unit, similarly to human resources or IT. This function is frequently performed by a project management office (PMO), which makes maximum use of synergies and ensures consistently high quality. Moreover, the PMO is the ideal place at which to incorporate external know-how.

Apply Resources Effectively and targetedly − With a Project Management Office

Projects are the engines that carry a company forward. From product development and market launches to the integration of newly acquired business units, as well as process improvements or the introduction of new infrastructure elements, practically all forward-looking change is driven in the form of a project. Today, project management know-how is correspondingly crucial. Organisations that lack command of the procedures and tools for efficient project implementation risk costly and time-consuming failures. It is, however, not just the success of individual projects that is essential if a company is to thrive in the medium and long term. The ability to confidently determine which projects have to be prioritised, is vital if the always limited resources are to be utilised both efficiently and to the greatest possible effect.

Project management office - define uniform standards and support continuous improvement

It becomes worthwhile to establish a project management office (PMO) as soon as multiple projects are carried out in parallel in a company. Similarly to other service departments such as HR, finance or IT, a PMO brings together specific know-how, ensuring a uniform methodology and thus a common language for project management in the company. This makes it easier to lead and control not only individual projects but the entire project portfolio. Typically, the PMO takes one of three roles: Firstly, it provides the leaders of the individual projects with all the methods and tools they need for efficient implementation, and establishes a standardised approach by means of training courses, for example. Secondly, a PMO gives concrete support to the project leaders in their daily work by making available a pool of qualified project managers, and it makes sure that the methods are developed and improved on an ongoing basis. The third role concerns guidance and training of the project teams in project management issues, as well as support in the application of specific project management tools.

Project management office - set new standards for the business-wide project culture

The PMO performs different tasks at the different company levels (see Fig. 1). As a staff unit at the company management level, the PMO supports the management board in controlling the project portfolio, and can provide it with important details for decision-making, for example regarding approval of new projects. At the department level, the PMO makes processes, methods, tools and project managers available for specific projects. In the projects themselves, the PMO supports the project leaders by carrying out the planning and monitoring tasks that are outside their usually subject-specific qualifications. In this way, they are able to concentrate on their core competencies. At the same time, this ensures that project management is of high quality and in line with corporate standards.

Figure 1: A PMO performs different tasks at the different company levels.

On account of its cross-department and cross-project roles, the PMO is also the ideal place to incorporate external experience into the company. Project managers with broad experience from related organisations and other sectors will not only bring fresh air into the project structure, but also pinpoint – with regard to subject-specific procedural details – concrete alternatives to the given methodology, thereby enhancing the company-wide project culture.