Understanding the Functions of a Project Management Office

Project Management Office

In the corporate world, the office of project management (PMO) has many different titles. Some of the common names are program management office, portfolio management office and project management office. As the name describes itself, the PMO involves the management, full control, and maintenance of the overall project for the entire organization. It also offers tools, resources, guidelines, standards and assistance to all the project managers.

There are two types of management offices i.e. centralized and decentralized. Centralized PMOs comprises enterprise-wide projects and implements the standard tools and techniques prescribed by the enterprise PMO. The decentralized focuses on a program or project. As it provides support within the program, its scope and influence is limited and it falls under the program manger’s authority. Regardless the type, the major function of such office is to provide decision support information for the projects. Corporations with PMOs are more likely to have project success; consequently, it has led to a rise in management offices.

The Need of a Project Management Office
The requirement of a PMO demands a hard and good look at the company’s operations. Executives need to observe and see if the different streams of company are working together across the installed systems and groups in harmony or they operate solo and do not have any interaction with the other machines. The PMO can definitely help in the latter case. It is also helpful in deploying significant projects or in changing the project strategies. If the running number of project is high and they have important level of cost and impact, then any organization will really benefit from PMO. It should also be noted that the PMO runs directly proportional to the length of the project. Larger the project, bigger will be the budget, thereby more need of PMO for efficient management.

Office’s Key Functions

Performance Management
PMO investigates and recognizes specific performance issues, communicates, and gives early warnings of troubled projects. It integrates project level status reporting and produces program level status for the executive reviews. Consistent performance reporting guidelines are also enforced by this office so that the projects perform efficiently and consistently. Additionally, using a powerful Gantt chart tool can further enhance performance management processes. Gantt charts provide visual representations of project timelines and tasks, allowing for better planning, coordination, and tracking of project progress.

This function provides decision support for the project sponsors, stakeholders, and decision makers that are involved in the program, enterprise, or in the organization. Sessions like documenting governance decisions and tracking actionable items enable the administrators’ support needed for the effective decision making.

Financial Management
Forecasting future expenses and tracking the actual spending while navigating an enterprise internal billing can be done with the help of PMO. It can also become a full time role in an office. For financial success, reporting cost variances and adjusting program predictions is also a critical function that can be handled by the PMO.

Schedule Management
Analysis of project milestones and integrating them into the overall program level is another important key aspect of the PMO. The level of the program or the project is summarized of critical program milestones and may integrate detailed program schedules. It also monitors schedule variances and recommends corrective actions.

Resource Management
The effective utilization of resources demands a high value of manageability of its allocation and capacity needs. Well distributed resources can assist a corporation in sharing additional skills across the program. Better decisions can be made by project prioritization and establishing resource management models and tracking utilization. The key to effective resource management is the reliability and quality of the data and PMO offers multiple ways in managing, collection, and reporting process.

Risk, Scope, and Issue Management
The PMO supports individual projects and programs by evaluating issues, risks, and changes to the program. Programs are organised according to the synergies gained from working as an integrated set of activities. Key processes are used by PMO and scope, issues, and risks are integrated to enjoy the mutual benefits.

Quality Management
PMOs provide quality management by delivering control, inspections, assurance over quality management. This function is always critical for consistency delivery to the clients. PMO can inspect project deliveries and also provide coaching required for additional management support.

Supplier Management
PMO monitors the various programs’ suppliers and notifies the program manager with the performance issues. Individual supplier work and its performance are integrated through PMO in order to understand the performance reporting standards. Additional management functions such as facility management, document management are also supported. Its scope depends on the form and needs within the enterprise or program. Once any corporation determines its use of PMO, they can use these functions as a checklist to develop the project office.

Communication Management
Adequate communication is a must requirement in every project and program. PMO establishes overall communications standards to follow in a program, although the frequency and the target audience may vary at the project or at project level. It also assists program managers in developing necessary communications to the stakeholders.

While developing a first PMO, corporations must have a development plan. They must also prioritize their specific functions depending on the needs and project management maturity. Fully functioning established PMOs aid industries in managing processes and integrating the programs and projects in organizations and enterprises.

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