PMO Outsourcing

Project Management Office Comments Off

Options to improve project performance: 1) Develop internal PM competencies, or 2) Contract it to the experts. Contractors/consultants/Outsourcing. This is Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO)

Outsourcing Pros: No PMO setup time; Best in class tools/ dashboard/ templates; Quality PMs

Outsourcing Cons: Data confidentiality risks (pipeline projects and development plans); Tensions due to having a two tier project teams (external PMs with internal project members)

The key question is: what is it being oursourced/contracted? Is it tactical, methodology/project planning&execution processes,  and PM people (model already popular, loads of PM vendors); or Strategic PMO for Portfolio decision making? I haven’t seen data/examples of this latter case, as the risk of  lossing control of the Portfolio/Strategy seems a serious obstacle. Who is running the company? Portfolio management should always be a core competency of internal Management.

Design PMO to meet real needs

Project Management Office Comments Off

I suggest this 3 step approach when setting up a new PMO or developing an existing one:

  1. What is the starting point? Find out about the context, i.e. Organizational structure and culture; and PM maturity (use any maturity model)
  2. What are the expectations? Ask people (PMs, functional managers, execs, etc) what help they need, what are the challenges they face when running projects, what would they like to see changing/improving. Do interviews or surveys.
  3. Focus on real needs and balance. Create a plan to design a PMO that focuses on what is has been asked, not what books or theory say. Is it PM training? A resource management tool? Help facilitating risk management? Monitoring project progress? Ensure PMO responsibilities fit with the available tools, skillsets, processes and structure -or adjust for balance. Will the PMO role fit well in the org culture (the way we do things here) and structure (functional, matrix,centralized, decentralized)?

The major reason that PMOs are shortlived or fail is because they don’t fit in the organization’s context, are too ambitious, impose changes that not all people agree with and lack management support. It is key to start focusing on few but true needs -what people see of value to them, e.g some templates, tools, etc-, with realistic objectives and metrics, and show the delivered benefits asap, so  to position the PMO as delivering Value to the company.

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