Rebooting the Project Management Office (PMO)

The PMO much like a computer becomes ineffective and inefficient over time and sometimes requires a reboot.  Rebooting a computer resets the system, clears out cache, releases memory and updates drivers.  Once the computer system is back up and running it runs faster and more efficient. The PMO often needs a reboot as well.   The PMO’s process become stall and outdated, executive management have come and gone, people are asking why are we doing it this way and newer software has been release over the years.  And over time the PMO becomes ineffective and needs a reboot as well.
The average lifetime of a PMO is about five and half years.  This sad fact actually makes sense as well.  Think about what has happen in five years after a PMO launches.  Executive management and sponsors have probably been promoted, left the company or perhaps retired, which means someone else has inherited it.  Processes and procedures have become stall and ineffective over time. The PMIS (Project Management Information System) lacks the latest features and hasn’t kept up with the latest enhancements. Project managers are incorporating agile into their processes creating chaos and confusion.  The original vision and purpose of the PMO has changed over time.  The PMO role and reach may need to expand and align with human resources or contract management.   It’s clearly evident that many events can occur in the past five years and instead of letting the PMO continue to become ineffective, perhaps it just needs a reboot.

What does it mean to reboot the PMO?   It really simple.  It’s just a matter of revisiting the vision and purpose of the PMO and ensure that it still aligns up to it business’s mission.  Realignment of the PMO may include some of the following steps below:

  1. Verify PMO executive support
  2. Write a PMO reboot plan and schedule
  3. Review the PMO vision and core values
  4. Review the PMO scope such as portfolios, program and projects
  5. Review the PMO maturity model.
  6. Review the staffing and resources required for PMO
  7. Review PMO training, mentoring and coaching
  8. Review PMO mythologies and processes
  9. Review PMO reporting meeting management requirements
  10. Review PMO standards for reporting
  11. Review PMO security and access permissions
  12. Review PMO tools, project and PMIS software

The last step is the main point of my blog; the review of PMO tools, project and PMIS software.  Companies often upgrade project server to a more current version without thinking about ​rebooting the PMO.  In many cases the project server upgrades are done without reflecting on what has changed over the years and how the new features can be incorporated into the PMO.

Personally for me, I think Microsoft Project server solution is the right solution for many companies, however, before spending money on upgrade, maybe it’s a time to bring in another PMIS solution.  Or perhaps it’s the right time to expand the maturity of the PMO and incorporate the other project server features such as timesheets, resource engagements, portfolio management or workflow to name a few.

In summary, every​ five years is a good time to reboot the PMO and make grow the maturity of the PMO.​

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