PMO Implementation Plan Template & PMO Charter Template

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Regardless of the PMO type, it is important that responsibilities are fit for purpose, address the context in which the PMO operates, and are clearly defined in the PMO Charter and for each PMO role. In this articles we will look the Roles and Responsibilities of a PMO, an implementation plan and a PMO Charter.

PMO Implementation Plan
PMO Implementation Plan

While 85% of organizations have a PMO in place (The State of Project Management 2016), most PMOs close within the first 3 years (APM). This is a shocking statistic so no wonder most companies implementing a new PMO find it a daunting and tough.

Whether you are new to the topic of PMOs and are considering implementing one in your organization or are revisiting the current catalogue of services of an existing office (or simply because you have a random interest in PMO stuff!), the continuous debate about a PMO’s responsibilities may intrigue you.

What are the Responsibilities of a PMO ?

Different PMOs will be assigned different responsibilities, depending on the needs of the business at the time.

In fact, with so many meanings assigned to PMOs (Project Management Office, Programme Management Organization, Portfolio Office, Centre of Excellence, or the trendy Transformation Office, you name it), it’s no wonder that you may be confused about the responsibilities of a PMO. In practice, what does a PMO do?

You may call your PMO whatever you want – in the end, it’s what they do that makes the real difference. The simple answer is…it depends. As with most aspects regarding PMOs, there is no one size fits all. However, typical responsibilities of a PMO tend to fit in one of three categories:

PMO Responsibilities
PMO Responsibilities

Delivery-Enabling 

  • Delivery-enabling responsibilities refer exactly to what it says on the tin, they aim to directly facilitate the delivery of projects and programmes. 
  • Working in the field, the main stakeholders group for the activities included in this category is the Project Managers. 
  • Responsibilities include assisting projects getting approved through the different stage gates, assuring the quality and delivery of work packages, providing basic support such as booking meetings or managing the different logs and documentation from projects, and providing advanced expertise such as project scheduling, project recovery techniques or coordinating dependencies across projects.

Centre of Excellence 

  • Responsibilities related to the PMO as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) are all about embedding a culture of project management and building project management capabilities. 
  • This group of responsibilities is aimed to support all project staff, thus, includes aspects such as the development of processes, templates and guidelines, the ownership over a project portfolio management (PPM) tool, the provision and clarification of best practices, converted into a scalable and tailored project management methodology, or the facilitation of project learning and collaboration, through the establishment of a community of practice where project teams can discuss challenges and transfer knowledge. 
  • From a capability building perspective, training, coaching and mentoring or competency assessments are examples of responsibilities that a PMO can take.

Portfolio

  • While most PMOs start their mandate focusing in enabling successful delivery and acting as a hub for excellence in project management practices, as they mature it is likely that their scope will expand to also include portfolio responsibilities. 
  • Activities included in this group of responsibilities will be particularly useful for senior management, by facilitating informed decision-making and providing oversight over the health and value of the portfolio. 
  • PMOs operating in this sphere will be responsible for assisting in the selection and prioritization of the portfolio, and reporting the status and progress of projects and programmes. 
  • Additional responsibilities relate to the management of a resource plan and solving allocation bottlenecks, as well as demonstrating that value is being delivered by facilitating the benefits realization process.

PMO Implementation Plan PPT Template

Fortunately for you, this article will help you to set up a PMO Implementation Plan, highlighting the important aspects you need to consider in order to succeed and escape the statistics.

Best Practices for Successful PMO

A plan is always a good start but there are a couple of considerations that you should keep in mind if you are aiming for success:
  1. Don’t try to boil the ocean: it’s tempting to try to do everything at once but it’s preferable to do few things right than to do everything in a poor way. Learn how to crawl before you attempt to run.
  2. Clear vision: establishing a clear and compelling vision is key. What is it you are trying to achieve with the PMO? Where do you want to be?
  3. Clear Expectations: ultimately, your stakeholders are the ones who will determine if the PMO is to exist and continue or not so you should do your best to keep them on your side and understand their views and concerns. What is of value for them? What is in the PMO for them?
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate: pic or didn’t happen. We live in a social world now so use it to spread the word about your achievements and engage with the PMO community!
  5. Right Team: having the right team can be what makes or breaks your PMO. As the saying goes, hire passion, train skills!
  6. Quick-wins: it can take a long time until you reach your desired level of maturity but if you focus your implementation on quick-wins, value can be delivered sooner (I’m sure people will be happy about it!)
  7. Strong Sponsorship: just like with the PMO team, having a committed, supportive, and available sponsor is essential to set the direction for the PMO so invest time in getting the right sponsor for this project.
PMO Implementation Plan Success Factors
PMO Implementation Plan Success Factors

Implementing a PMO is a project

  • Implementing a PMO should be treated as a strategic business change project. Let me repeat: as a project. 
  • This means having someone in place to manage the project and coordinate the project team, identifying a sponsor and, of course, having a project plan with clearly identified phases, tasks, deliverable, and resources. 
  • As with other project plan, it is fundamental that the plan is designed with those who are going to be involved in its execution, and that it is realistic in its approach and timescales. 
  • If you are a doer who has been handed-over a plan from the sales team, you certainly know what I’m talking about.

PMO Implementation Plan Phases

Define

  • Before you can actually start, it’s important that you understand the organizational context that led to the need of establishing a PMO, since this will help you to better define what expectations will the PMO aim to meet, who are the PMO stakeholders, what objectives should the PMO aim for, and what functions and services will better respond to the achievement of those objectives. 
  • During this phase, two key deliverable should be produced and signed-off. 
  • Firstly, the PMO Business Case, which should provide a robust case (financial, strategic, etc.) for a PMO to be established. 
  • Secondly, the PMO Charter, a sort of a “contract” between the organization and the project for the establishment of the PMO. 
  • The Charter should identify what will be the mission, vision and objectives of the PMO, what departments will be covered, and, at a high level, what will be the approach for implementation.

Plan

  • In this phase, we start detailing which functions and services should the PMO deliver to meet expectations, which are usually captured in what is called the “PMO Services Catalog”. 
  • In order to better perform those services, it’s also important to identify what configuration should the PMO take, in terms of type and model, and who should it report to, aspects which are captured in the “PMO Governance and Operating Model”. 
  • This is also the moment when the PMO will plan its roadmap, identifying what needs to be achieved in the short, medium, and long-term and what criteria will be used to assess success in the implementation.

Implement

  • Once the roadmap has been agreed, it’s time to implement it, one bit at a time. Start by gathering the right team around you and defining their roles and responsibilities. 
  • People are at the core of what projects are about thus having a skilled and committed team in place can be the secret ingredient for your PMO success! Then…there’s plenty to do! 
  • Defining how projects are going to be run in the organization (a methodology), creating project templates, establishing mechanisms and governance for reporting on the portfolio, delivering training and educating staff in the methodology and in the new working practices and even considering the use of a PPM tool to support your work (although this may be more useful at a later stage) are activities that should be in the radar of the PMO for the first months of implementation.
  • Once all is in a good shape, try to pilot the approach with a couple of minimal-risk-projects (should there be such a thing!), capture feedback, learn and apply refinements and start thinking how you are going to roll it out by creating a Roll-out Plan.
PMO Implementation Plan
PMO Implementation Plan

Manage

  • While the “Implement” phase is the most effort and time-consuming, it is actually in the day-to-day of the PMO that you will understand how successful has the implementation been. 
  • It’s in the trenches that the value of the PMO is going to be tested so prepare, be brave, and keep up the good work! 
  • This is an opportunity to measure what you have achieved so far, learn from failures, refine your work, communicate your achievements, and prepare the next wave of work, with the purpose of improving the PMO and the organizational project management maturity. 
  • Following, a PMO maturity assessment will enable you to identify any gaps and gather the support you need to plan for the journey.

Close

  • Do not despair yet! “Close” is here just because your PMO may have been created to support a specific project or programme now ending. 
  • Should this be the case, please do not underestimate the importance of this phase as so often happens with projects. 
  • Closure is important (you can ask my therapist!). It involves not just housekeeping, like closing administrative contracts, risk logs, etc., but also ensuring that the organizational memory is alive by gathering lessons learned from the PMO implementation and management and by transferring that knowledge back to the organization. 
  • However, if you are a permanent PMO, please disregard this text and just continue being awesome.

PMO Charter Template

What is PMO Charter?

A PMO Charter is one of the most important documents in the life of a Project Management Office. Project charters formally recognize the existence of projects in an organization, the PMO Charter legitimizes the existence of the PMO before the business.

It is its organizational mandate which justifies why the PMO is being created, provides a high-level description of what the PMO is set to achieve and what its role will be and, most importantly, it empowers the PMO management team to carry out their functions.

In fact, the implementation of a PMO should be no different from any other project: you must define what the project is about from the onset, its purpose and objectives, before it can be approved, planned, and executed. The same applies to the establishment of a PMO via the PMO Charter.

PMO Charter
PMO Charter

What should a PMO Charter contain?

PMO Background: 

Describes the organizational context that originated the need for a PMO. Whatever the background for the PMO is, it is important that this is identified as it will help the PMO in defining its functions to better respond to the problem, need, or opportunity encountered.

PMO Mission, Vision, and Values:

There is a lot of confusion between mission and vision statements, so let’s briefly recap: mission refers to what the PMO is and the reason for its existence; vision refers to what the PMO aspires to be, that is, would the PMO would appear in a future successful state. Finally, values refer to the fundamental beliefs that dictate action and behavior, what the PMO stands for.

PMO Purpose
PMO Purpose

PMO Objectives: 

It's not sufficient to say that you want to become the best PMO ever, you also need to identify how will you achieve such vision. That is done by stating what are the objectives of the PMO. Objectives should be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely -  and it should be clear how the success of the PMO will be measured.

PMO Customers and Stakeholders: 

Ultimately, a PMO exists to serve its customers, therefore, it is of utmost importance to identify in the Charter who these customers are. Whereas customers are individuals or groups that will receive services from the PMO, stakeholders are individuals or groups who can affect or be affected by the work of the PMO.

PMO Structure: 

This section should not only define the positioning of the PMO in the organizational structure (who will be the PMO report to?) but also define what will be the roles required for the PMO team and their positioning in the hierarchical structure. The responsibilities, accountability and authorities for each of the PMO roles should also be identified.

PMO Service Offering: 

Lists the functions to be performed by the PMO. This section should only provide an overview since a Service Catalog covering all details will be later created during the life cycle of the PMO.

PMO Critical Success Factors: 

Critical success factors are all about the aspects that need to be in place for the PMO to be successful in its endeavor. This can include factors such as a committed team, strong sponsorship, or sufficient budget and resources, which show that the success of the PMO is not just driven by the success of the PMO team but rather by a joint organizational effort.
PMO Charter Template
PMO Charter Template

Benefits of  PMO Charter

  1. Establishes a sense of direction: With identified objectives and clear mission and vision statement, the PMO knows where it needs to go
  2. Enables buy-in: Rather than relying on assumptions, by putting into words the expectations of stakeholders and customers, the PMO confirms understanding and ensures that everyone is on the same page, in this way facilitating buy-in
  3. Creates a reference point: The Charter is a central on-going point of reference for the governance and operations of the PMO, reminding people why the PMO was created and is important
  4. Empowers the PMO: By formally recognizing the PMO in the organization through the issue and sign-off of the PMO Charter, the PMO gains authority and legitimacy to proceed and do its magic.

    Without a PMO Charter, PMOs are neglecting their existence and leaving their essence to chance, leading to PMOs that are misaligned with the actual needs of the business and where no one understands why a PMO is needed or what does the PMO do. The PMO Charter brings back the why behind the PMO and assigns meaning to its doing. Looks like a real strong reason to have yourselves one!




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