A)Describe two key activities a project office may undertake.
B) List and describe three distinct benefits of a project management office:
A) The first activity a project management office (PMO) might undertake is the provision of guidance and management templates (e.g. risk assessments, project management plans or communications plans) and other resources to the project manager. This is important because it saves the PM time in not creating his own, and ensures all project managers in the organisation are using the same documentation, thereby ensuring consistency of approach. Offering guidance and coaching in project management means that project managers have somewhere to turn for professional support in their roles, or when something unexpected happens.
The second activity a PMO could undertake are the administrative tasks in support of projects across the organisation. These might include maintaining project files, risk or change registers. This is important because it allows project managers to focus on management rather than administration. It also enables a consistent and robust approach is being taken to matters like risk monitoring; where project risks can be monitored, logged and reported on centrally, rather than on a more ad hoc project-by-project basis.
B) Three distinct benefits to an organisation of having a project management office are:
i) Having a cadre of experienced project management professionals, who are dedicated to project management and the organisation’s own PM method is an advantage because it means that not only are standards set and maintained but there is a commitment to continuous improvement. This is important because lessons learned from organisational experience of projects can feed into and improve their guidance, templates and working practices. They can also keep up with the latest PM industry best practice and use this to inform organisational improvement.
ii) The PMO has access to and can collate management and performance information on projects from across the organisation. This is important because portfolio managers/sponsors gain crucial information about projects, including their risk statuses, change logs and whether or not they are on track to deliver in time. Individual project managers will not have access to other projects’ data or necessarily appreciate the interactions between their own projects and others in the organisation. It also ensures that data is collected and reported consistently.
iii) The PMO can undertake training and coaching of project managers, as they are a centre of project management excellence within the organisation. In-house training of project managers ensures that they all receive consistent information and development which has the advantage of being tailored to the organisation’s own method and context. It can feature relevant case studies and stay up to date with both industry best practice and any lessons learned from lived experience within the organisation.