The Project Notebook

Forms of PMOs: The Project Support Office


In my capacity as Component Mentor this week, I came across a question about the forms of Project Management Offices or PMOs. As some of you may know, there is currently no one anwer for this. The PMI PMO Specific Interest Group is currently tackling standards for PMOs, so this may change in a few years hence. In the meantime, I thought it might be useful to my readers to provide some high level information about the Project Support Office I direct.

Like all good PMOs, the PSO started with executive sponsorship, a business case, funding, and a mission. Our funding was provided in the form of a fractional resource from each functional department with the mission of providing project and project-related services back to them for both internal and external projects. Internally, we mostly handle product development projects. Externally, we focus on client implementations of these products.

Being a small company of around 50 employees, this translates to many different things. For product improvements, we gather and write requirements and shepard them through to production,often contributing to testing and developing roll out plans. For client implementations, we exercise our client project methodology, developing plans, implementing products, loading data, and managing the project.

Some astute observers may have noticed these contributions revolve around client and professional services, product development, and project management type functions, but doesn’t really touch on departments like sales and finance. So how do we provide services to them?

Our sales environment is very heavily RFP driven, so working on RFP responses is a great way to train new project managers on the products and introduce existing project managers to client needs and expectations. Experienced consultants have established deep product expertise and participate in and often lead sales demos. Like most small companies with efficiently managed resources, we need to “wear many hats”.

During the coming year, we plan on increasing our focus on projects and clients, along with our own “people” development, examining each function carefully for alignment to this main mission. This means, for example, that if we do not take on any new project managers, our participation in RFP responses may be limited and we will focus more on what our experienced project managers can do for clients.

In some future weeks, I’ll tackle some other forms of PMO, so if you have a particular interest, please drop me a comment to this post or email to sdcapmp@aol.com. Here’s to a New Year of successful projects!

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP