List and describe two key activities that a project management office might undertake.
1. The project management office might provider administrative support for the project manager.
This could involve managing records and reports, inputting data to produce project monitoring reports, arranging and minuting meetings and managing the project manager and team’s diaries. This is important because this enables the project manager and project team to concentrate on project delivery, it also ensures that administrative tasks are done in the same way across the organisation, so documents and reports are consistent, and in the style expected by the organisation.
2. The project management office might manage and provide advice on relevant legislation, policies and governance procedures and ensure that the project teams are adhering to the regulations. The project management office may audit the project to provide assurance to the sponsor and sponsoring organisation that regulations are being followed, where this occurs, they would not provide support to produce these reports.
Explain three distinctive benefits of a project management office
3. A benefit of a project management office is that they would enable the project manager and project team to concentrate on the delivery of the project, this might be particularly important in a large or fast paced project; for example, the person project managing or working on the team delivering the build of the millennium dome would not want to be arranging their own meetings, or write minutes of meetings. They could have a personal secretary to do this, but the fact that this is organised by a project management office, could mean more effective administration and coordination, as the project management office would have an overview of the project as a whole.
4. Another benefit of the project management office is that the office may have overview of several projects, and may be able to share resource and expertise across the projects, they may be able to report to the project sponsor and portfolio manager on the progress of the organisation’s project portfolio as a whole. For example the project management office of a house building company could keep an eye on the pace of each of two projects in a similar area, they could ensure that as soon as the electricians have finished for one project, they are ready to get started on another, if particular problems arise, they could transfer expertise from one project to another.
5. The third benefit of a project management office is that consistency of approach provides assurance to the project sponsor and steering groups that projects are being undertaken according to agreed terms of governance. This is important in that project sponsors can be assured that projects are undertaken using pre-agreed methods, roles are clear and reporting is consistent. A consistent approach enables improved strategic planning and continuous improvement, for example if a housebuilder was running several projects in an area and wanted an update on progress, they could ask the project management office for that month’s report from all of the projects in that area, which would all be in the same format, reporting against the same KPI’s – so it should be easy to establish where any problems may lie. Reviewing the reports following the completion of projects could enable lessons to be learned in planning future projects, any process improvements would benefit all future projects as they take a consistent approach.