Step 1 should be to ensure that the person chosen to manage the PMO is a great communicator, as well as having the appropriate qualifications. Step 2 should be to ensure that the PMO manager knows what the organisation expects of the PMO, and that the organisation understands the role and purpose of the PMO.
I suggest that problems are most likely to arise when there is a variance between the corporate understanding and the PMO manager's expectations, so ensuring alignment should be the top priority.
Introducing a PMO is a business change project in itself: you are introducing new working practices, changing the status quo, and potentially triggering some resistance from people who feel that their roles are being changed or diminished by the new team. I like a very simple model to help me to manage this type of change:
- Consider the business need for this new set-up, and make sure that this can be expressed concisely and clearly;
- Be able to paint a very convincing picture that sets out a clear vision of how you want it to be;
- Ensure that the necessary resources are available to manage the change (including communicating it), as well as having the resources to operate the new PMO;
- Have a simple plan for managing the change, or at least for the first few steps of the change.
Hopefully these, when taken together, will exceed the resistance to change. If not, then they need to be strengthened until they combine to make a case that stands up to scrutiny.