210.0 PMO Foundation

The place to start creating your PMO is through a formal organizational definition. This Foundation step gives you the information you need to determine what you should be doing, who your clients are, what your products and services will be, etc. There are many varieties of PMO that can be implemented. This organizational definition process gives you the information you need to define the parameters of the right PMO for your organization.

If you have an existing PMO, but are struggling, this would be the place to revisit. Many times, a PMO will charge off with an aggressive idea of what they need to do, even though their clients and sponsor never validated the underlying organizational assumptions. For instance, you may not have agreements on the objectives you are trying to achieve, which may mean you will not have the high-level support you need when you encounter resistance in your organization.

The Start of the PMO vs. the Start of the Project

The PMO is defined and built as a part of the project, and yet resources from the PMO are required for the Deployment Project in the first place. In other words, it can seem that members of the PMO are needed to actually build the PMO in the first place.

Every project will be somewhat different on how the PMO is staffed and how the deployment project is executed. First, the organization has a vision for what they are trying to accomplish. Someone (or some group) should have already prepared a high-level estimate for what needs to be done and what budget needs to be allocated. This is the funding required to get the first members of the PMO staff into place. This would normally be the manager of the PMO and perhaps one or two additional senior members. This small team starts to prepare the Program Definition for deploying project management, and they bring on additional PMO staff as needed. Obviously, when the PMO is to the point where they need to be building (or buying) the methodology, they may need additional resources. These same people can transition into the role of coach, and they can transition into trainers and presenters for the future awareness and training sessions.

In summary, some resources need to come on up-front to get everything organized and planned. If the sponsor approves the final plan and budget, then the PMO gets built according to the plan. The initial team members become the core of the PMO organization as it is defined and built. Other members are brought in to work on the Deployment Project. Like most projects, it takes more resources to build and deploy project management than it will take for the long-term support of the methodology. It is likely that as the PMO successfully deploys project management in the organization, there will be less need for coaching and training services, and the PMO staff will be reduced to some long-term staffing level required to support and enhance the methodology as needed.

Defining the Logical PMO

The value of defining a logical organization is twofold.

  • You gain clarity and agreement on what you are doing and why. This definition should show the value that you provide to the business and why the PMO exists to begin with. This information is communicated to clients, stakeholders and your own staff.

  • The logical organization provides a framework for the PMO to guide decision-making in the future. For instance, you would not want to undertake any projects in the PMO that did not help achieve your organizational goals and objectives. Major PMO decisions can be evaluated based on whether they fit into your PMO strategy. The way you deal with people can be defined by your PMO’s principles.

The result of the Foundation step is a PMO Definition.

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210.1 PMO Types  

210.2 PMO Sponsorship

210.3 Organizational Change Management

210.4 Building the Logical PMO

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