Developing a Project Management Office (PMO) is in itself a Project!

One of the more exciting parts of the work I do is helping my clients expand their businesses. Whether they buy out another company, open a new office across the country or overseas, or simply increase their staff due to client needs, they recognize the benefits of developing and implementing a PMO. And this “temporary endeavor” is, of course, a project, which needs to be approached as such. However, some of my clients sometimes chuckle when I tell them we need to start with a charter, and then continue with a project management plan. They see these tools as redundant for an internal PMO. The charter and PM Plan, they believe, is only necessary when running projects for their clients, but both of these documents are essential to be successful in the creation and launching of a PMO.

And here’s why…

Developing a Project Management Office (PMO) is in itself a Project!

The charter will provide the necessary first step in determining the basics, such as:

  • The type and authority level the PMP will have, which is part of the statement of work.
  • The high-level budget needed for the development and implementation work, which the company will need to expand for this endeavor, such as in currency or the number of staff hours it might take.
  • Overall deadline or deadlines (preliminary schedule) for accomplishing this project, including the internal phases
  • Any identified risks, which might derail the project or delay it, if, for example, client commitments will not allow for staff to work on developing the PMO. This is on the “threat” side, of course, or a positive risk (“opportunity”), such as tying an internal PMO to the client’s processes to streamline work between the two entities.
  • And, of course, the business case, which is crucial for justifying the reason why the company will invest time, money and work-effort into this goal, such as, “the company wishes to increase staff efficiency by 10%, which will be measured by increased output of deliverables within the next 12 months.”

Once the project charter is developed, it will serve not only to collect all the relevant data into one document but also to validate the overall project and move forward. The next step, of course, will then be to develop the corresponding PM Plan which will contain the detailed scope, budget, schedule, as well as needed staff (human resources), potential consultants (procurement), and risk control among other critical processes required to establish a successful PMO.

Developing a Project Management Office (PMO) is in itself a Project!

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