In Part 1 of this series, we discussed what a PMO (Project Management Office) is and what benefits you gain from having one. The next question you may be asking yourself is how a PMO fits into your organization. When PMOs first rose in popularity, they relied heavily on rigid structure and complex processes. However, PMOs of today have come to understand that there is no one size fits all approach and tailor their PMO to fit the needs of their organization.
Situating Your PMO in a Larger Organization
While no two PMOs are exactly alike, they all have the same purpose. The purpose of a PMO is to deliver corporate strategy through the planning, prioritizing and managing of projects. This is typically done through a process called Project Portfolio Management or PPM. Traditionally, PMOs fit in an organization’s hierarchy somewhere on the same level of operational planning, just under upper management. This proximity to upper management makes sense because the PMO’s purpose is to make the strategy upper management has developed a reality. However, successful PMOs of today are more than just a department on an organization chart.
Operations in a PMO
PMOs execute their purpose through processes, but our experience has shown us that these processes need to be uncomplicated. For PMOs to deliver corporate strategy in dynamic times, they need to be able to move quickly and efficiently, two things that cannot be accomplished with lengthy processes. That’s why we developed Lean Project Portfolio Management™ or Lean PPM™ for PMOs.
Lean PPM™ is a framework for continually delivering results even in times of change. The framework was intentionally designed to be lean, so organizations have the flexibility they need to quickly respond to changing conditions. Lean PPM™ breaks down PMO processes into four continuously running stages:
- Strategize – Translate corporate strategy into objective criteria used to evaluate projects
- Collect – Collect and refine new project initiatives
- Decide – Review and decide on new project initiatives and resolve conflicts in the portfolio
- Execute – Put decisions into action
The four stages of Lean PPM™ will involve employees at all levels in your organization both inside and outside of the PMO. While there are a number of roles involved in Lean PPM™, there are a few that are core to its operation.
- Portfolio Coordinator – Typically the Head of PMO, a PMO Team Member or Business Unit Manager, the portfolio coordinator is responsible for all or part of the company’s project portfolio and acts as a guide for all of the other roles in Lean PPM™
- Initiator – An initiator can be any one in your organization who proposes a new project initiative
- Pipeline Review Committee Member – The pipeline review committee is responsible for evaluating new project initiatives and prioritizing them before sending them for approval
- Portfolio Board Member – The portfolio board is the decision-making body in Lean PPM™ and members are responsible for making decisions on the current and future state of the portfolio
Lean PPM™ in Your PMO
A PMO cannot operate without processes, but this doesn’t mean that more processes are better. Lean PPM™ provides just the right amount of process and order needed for organizations to make informed decisions quickly. The ability to more quickly make decisions allows companies to seize new opportunities, avoid pitfalls and adapt to changing market conditions before it's too late. If you’d like to know more about Lean PPM™ and how you can implement its framework in your PMO, you can use our Lean PPM™ templates to get started.
Putting it All Together
Whether your PMO is well established or if you are just thinking about introducing a PMO into your organization, this blog post has hopefully given you a good overview of how the PMO and its roles function in an organization. If you’d like to know more about the processes in a PMO or how to set up your own PMO, you can learn more here.