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When starting a new PMO role in a small organization, what would be the 5 most important steps to take so that people understand the merit of having a PMO, in addition to bringing real and short term value to the organization, as well as in addition to the long term value, of course?

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    Why limit by an arbitrary number like 5? I would say it depends on the organization and company structure. – Kieran Andrews Feb 7 '11 at 22:45
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I agree with Kieran. Don't focus on proving anything. There is too much of that everywhere and you don't want to be part of it.

  1. Get regular feedback from all the Project Managers.
  2. Make sure you have detailed metrics of projects, which will let you make decisions in the future.
  3. Consolidate. If you have people going to 3 places to place the same information, try to make sure you consolidate.
  4. Standardize. If your organization has two PMs with two different status reports, then help them by standardizing documentation.

PMO is a great opportunity. Make sure you enjoy it, it will help you grow.

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Contrary to the 'don't prove anything' advice, which I find somewhat naive. I'll recommend you prove your value to everyone. If you don't prove your value, you won't last.

  1. prove your value to the executive team by linking the PMO to the organizational goals and strategy
  2. prove your value to the PMs inside and outside the PMO by linking the PMO activities to their needs for help and efficiencies and development
  3. prove your value to the client by showing how the PMO saves money
  4. prove your value to your PMO management team by developing a vision for the PMO and communicating it
  5. prove your value to yourself, this is going to be a roller coaster, make sure you know what you bring to the table.
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+50
  1. Most importantly ... ditch your preconceptions and the easy prescriptions that everyone gives you ... no two organizations are the same; one size solution does not fit all. You must see reality [in your new assignment] as it really is, not as you want to see it. Put the cape and superhero costume back in the attic; you must work through others, make other people the superheros ... acquire a state of profound humility as you approach the new assignment.
  2. Listen ... especially to the people who are really most effective at getting things done ... don't listen to the people who believe that they are the ones who do things.
  3. Observe how the organization really works. A PMO must step in to provide the foundation and structure for others to be successful ... [it might be a bad metaphor, but] remember that the strongest, most important block in the pyramid is not the decorative stone at the peak ... as the PMO stonemason, your priority is always shoring up the weakest stones, to maintain and push that peak higher.
  4. Understand what needs to change and in what order that change should occur.
  5. Develop your plan ... ask lots of questions like this one, but mostly think about serving others and delivering positive, measurable business results to your organization.
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If the position is already a position and not new position then there is no need to "prove" that there is merit in having a PMO position as management already are aware that a position is needed.

The best ways to provide value are to follow normal PM methods. This depends on the organization and/or company structure.

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PMO is a centralized service. As with all centralized services, there are pros and cons. If the PMO start-up was approved, someone found the pros outweighing the cons at least in its initial business case.

However, the new PMO needs to build initial capital quickly. It needs to find quick wins to validate its efficacy in order to continue to build buy-in.

My first step would be to begin building competency and capability. The PMO needs human resources with the competency to act as SMEs right from the beginning, but also newer resources that you can grow over time. You need to define processes and procedures and get these documented and distributed as fast as possible. You need to acquire the tools to enable services and output in an efficient way. And you need to establish the beginning of policies, guidance, and rules that will govern the organization's project behaviors here on out. The PMO maturity level is low to non existent and will grow over time. You cannot rush it. I would have a plan to progress through the maturity levels in a controlled, realistic way.

The second step would be to capture quick wins and build capital as quickly as possible. Something triggered the idea of the PMO; I would understand what these things were and move to "fix" them through the PMO capability and take credit for it.

Third, I would start my marketing and sales campaign, selling the PMO throughout the organization and cementing its relevance. The campaign is a two-way street; I would solicit ideas and ask for concerns and I would address to closure as quickly as possible.

Fourth, I would establish organization-level performance metrics and tactical-level metrics against which the PMO will be measured.

Fifth, I would begin measuring numbering four, and sell the results.

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  • David, I agree with your steps, although not necessarily that the PMO is the result of a business case. All too often I have heard of PMO's being considered the 'silver bullet', with no more justification for being implemented than that. But I guess you addressed that in your second step. :) – Trevor K. Nelson May 9 '11 at 23:57
  • Very true! Little analysis about its efficacy, ambiguous and disparate expectations, disappointment, close up shop six months later. – David Espina May 10 '11 at 11:56
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I'm a little late to this one, but I'll answer anyway. The tone of your question suggests that the PMO itself is new, as is your position.

If true, there's only one important step - make sure you're addressing a REAL problem, and make sure that a PMO is the right answer.

All too often, when a company faces challenges with their projects, the default answer is - we need a PMO. But why do you need one? What's going to change? PMO's don't magically solve problems. In fact, if done for the wrong reasons, they'll create even more than they solve.

In this case, I question whether a PMO is the right choice. Primarily because you're starting out by asking "what should I do to show everyone this has value?" It should actually be the other way around. The PMO should be implemented because all concerned felt that creating one is the answer that would bring value.

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