The a-connect approach to establishing a successful Project Management Office

A Project Management Office (PMO) is ideal for larger, complex or multi-workstream projects. The upfront cost of establishing a PMO presents exceptional value for money when compared with the time and money efficiencies they deliver. But the key is ensuring its smooth establishment and running. This article guides you through how we set up PMOs.

7 Minutes Life Sciences 11/18/2020

At a Glance

This article takes you through PMOs with a specific focus on:

  • Its five key benefits.
  • The three stages of the PMO life cycle.
  • The key activities you need to undertake through each stage.

The stages and activities are based on our proven methodology, which we have used to help our clients.

Setting up a PMO present five key benefits

They are critical in ensuring the successful progress and completion of a project and deliver several key benefits:

  • Visibility.
    Creating transparency to predict risks and align on project outcomes.
  • Agility.
    Driving agility by establishing linkages and dependencies between workstreams.
  • Center of Excellence.
    Creating a central, end-to-end management office driving alignment and support across all projects and workstreams.
  • Quality.
    Creating best practices across projects for optimal resourcing & deliverables.
  • People.
    Increasing awareness and raising value for project stakeholders.

Key considerations for setting up a PMO

The process is composed of three main stages:

  • Planning.
  • Execution.
  • Completion.

There are then six stages that need to be actioned as you move through these phases.

1. Establish PMO Objectives

  • Ensure they align with sponsor expectations.
  • Establish project milestones to track progress towards those objectives.

2.  Identify Sponsor(s) and Stakeholders

  • A senior/executive sponsor mandates PMO requirements and enables transparency
  • The sponsor can remove barriers and enable faster issue resolution
  • Identify stakeholders and draft a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) map

3. Create Tools and processes

  • Based on functions the PMO will need to support, create tools and processes for:
    • Financial planning (budget).
    • RAID management (Risks, Assumptions, Issues, Dependencies).
    • Performance KPIs & Reporting (report types and cadence).
    • Quality assurance.
    • Change control (scope, costs, schedule, benefits).
    • Resourcing (org design, recruitment, resource planning).
    • Communication.
    • Procurement.
    • Documents repository.

4. Source Infrastructure

  • Ensure skills and resources align with objectives and can deliver on them.
  • Develop detailed and consistent project onboarding approach.
  • Develop teams by workstreams/activities and assign resources and tasks.

5. Organize Engagement and Communication with key stakeholders

  • Clearly communicate objectives, outcomes, responsibilities, and expectations.
  • Establish and run open communication and feedback channels.
  • Create a project governance model and issue escalation process.
  • Agree check-ins with PMO managers and stakeholders to track team morale.

6. Set-up Reporting Cadence

  • Prepare and provide comprehensive progress reports for key stakeholders.
  • Keep sponsor(s) updated on progress.
  • Establish systems to capture learnings & feedback, for continuous improvement.
  • Perform a final project budget and report.

The a-connect approach is a proven methodology

The above approach is second nature at a-connect – an approach that has allowed us to successfully help clients solve their most pressing problems. Empowerment and engagement of stakeholders helps transition the organization to new ways of working. The ‘Project Kick-Off’ is an ideal opportunity to set the governance and expectations with all stakeholders. To institutionalize the necessary processes in the long term, the PMO needs to drive towards creating a change culture in-house to ensure continued improvement.

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