Building the PMOProject Management Office

Valuable Insights from an Experienced PMO Leader

On becoming a PMO leader, you are overwhelmed by the responsibilities. Carolyn B. Smith comes with 20 years of experience in PMO. She confirms that this is natural. In this Impact by Laura article, she provides her valuable insights as an experienced PMO leader.

Sharing Lessons Learned from a PMO Leader

Have patience to gradually build your empire. Following are the insights from Smith, an experienced PMO leader:

Building the PMO Edifice:

  1. As management expects some results, start building a support network. Take in all you can get, even conflicting ideas.
  2. If you have inherited several PMOs, understand their varied cultures and processes. Keep your direct team close and hold regular meetings with the entire team. Prioritize urgent tasks and delegate ownership to other leaders.
  3. Collaborating with other PMOs, especially from the IT and business, can help in the future.
  4. Structure your PMO based on project requirements. Grouping PMs, developers, and testers together can allow for better management.

Change Management:

  1. Before implementing something new, let all the employees know about its impact. Build use cases and introduce them to the new processes.
  2. Document all the communications between IT and business while implementing something new.
  3. To implement changes across the organization, a PMO leader would need support from business heads. Constantly communicate with all the heads to understand impact areas.
  4. Business leaders might be too impressed by a product demonstration and invest without consulting you. Let them understand the cost incurred if they do not deliver their promises.

Producing Value:

  1. The goal of a PMO leader is realizing benefits. Collaborate with C-suite executives to create a fixed capacity for high-priority projects. Be transparent with your team regarding capital spending.
  2. Instead of adding features to products, ask feedback for customers involved in pilot products. With a minimum viable approach, you can speed up releases and improve cost efficiency by selling relevant products.

The Agile Journey:

  1. Instead of having several major releases at the same time, break them into major and minor releases. The required resources can alternate between the releases.
  2. Though Agile can be used anywhere, it is up to your senior management to feel comfortable with organizational adoption.
  3. To promote Agile, train business leaders and mirror Product Owner and Scrum Master roles. Let the business and IT leaders work together.

Adopting Disruption:

Conduct workshops to discuss new technologies and how they influence the company’s future. A PMO leader should leverage the IT team to produce videos, interactive gaming sessions, etc. This would allow the rest of the employees to experiment, ask doubts, and feel engaged.

Pointers for a PMO Leader:

  1. Do not preach what you cannot follow.
  2. Create a contingency strategy for possible risks.
  3. Communicate as often as possible.
  4. Ask for feedback and seek help.
  5. Create bonds that you can fall back on whenever needed.

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