230.0 PMO Planning

At this point you have completed the discussion on the current state and the future state of the organization. You have also categorized the gap in terms of size and priorities. Now we can look for ways that the PMO can close the gap.

It is not up to the facilitator to tell the customer how the PMO can close the gap and help move the organization toward its future state. The customer needs to work through this process so that they will own the results. However, a problem you will encounter is that the customer probably does not have a vision for the kinds of things that PMOs can do. Remember that the customer is working with the facilitator to define the PMO. The customer’s knowledge of PMOs is probably weak.

Products and Services Presentation

The starting point for this planning discussion should be for the facilitator to provide a short presentation on the various products, services and activities that PMOs can perform. This presentation is not meant to imply that all of the products and services should be performed by the customer’s PMO. The purpose is just to open the eyes of the customer so that they have a broader vision of the kinds of things they should consider. (TenStep has such a presentation as a part of the “Setting up and Running a PMO” class.)

Products and Services for This PMO

The prior presentation provides some perspective on all of the things that a PMO can do. The next, more important discussion is to determine what makes sense for the particular PMO that we are defining now.

Each gap that was identified earlier is analyzed to determine what the PMO can do to help close the gap. At this point you are not worried about costs, resources or priorities. The point here is to describe all of the things the PMO could do. For example, if there is a large gap indentified in project management methodology, it would make sense that the PMO can help close the gap by buying/building this methodology. This would lead to the products and services for methodology management.

A set of basic and advanced PMO products and services is described in 280.0 PMO Products and Services. This section describes a candidate list of products and services. The group can add new products and services, or modify the ones described. Most PMOs cannot offer all of these products and services so it is assumed that many in this section will not be applicable. 

Likewise, if an organization identified a gap in the way projects are approved and authorized, this might lead to the PMO creating a better process for project approval. This would lead to products and services in portfolio management.

This can be a long discussion as each gap is analyzed and solutions are offered for how the PMO can help close the gap.

It is possible and likely that there will be some gaps that cannot be fully closed by the PMO alone. This may lead to the identification of work by other people or organizational entities. It is also possible that there will be gaps that the PMO cannot close at all. In other words, closing certain gaps may end up being outside the realm of the PMO. For example, a gap may be identified in the process for paying vendors in a timely manner. This may be a large, high-priority gap, but closing the gap may not be something the PMO can do. This may require work from the finance and procurement group instead. This is why it is important to try to focus the current state and future state discussions into areas that seem to be candidates for the PMO to solve.

At this point, you are transitioning from the aspects of current state, future state and gap analysis to the products and services that the PMO will use to help close the gaps. The information will look something like the following.


Product / Service*

Gap Size

(L, M, H)

Addresses Aspect


Governance process





Methodology management





Project manager training



Project manager skills


Project manager certification



Project manager skills


Project manager mentoring



Project manager skills


Project management Communication Plans



Project communication

* A set of basic and advanced PMO products and services is described in 280.0 PMO Products and Services.  

You now have a candidate list of all the products, services and activity that the PMO can perform to help move the organization toward its desired future state. If the organization had all the money needed, it is possible that the PMO could tackle all of the work that was uncovered in the Planning phase. However, this is never the case.

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