Jun 24, 2010

The Project Support Office: Build It Right, the First Time

Posted by in Project Management Office (PMO) | 3 Comments

Here's a trick question: What do you call a group that supports project management in an organization?

If you answered Project Support Office (PSO), Project Management Office (PMO), Program Management Office, Hybrid PMO, Portfolio Management Office or an Enterprise Project Management Office ...  you are right.

It doesn’t matter what you call it: what matters is what products and services have you been chartered to provide.  If you provide the expected and continued value and benefit to your organization, that's called success. And the place to lay the groundwork for that success is ... from the ground up.

For example, in developing and implementing a PSO - an organizational entity primarily chartered to support a key project or program - you must, as with any project management function, take into account the basic components of processes, people, tools and technology. Here a a few tips, from my experience:

  • Sponsorship - As with any project, the PSO or any project management group needs strong sponsorship and in particular a strong champion.  This person needs to have the organizational knowledge and political clout to make the PSO successful.
  • Involving the Right People - There are two groups of people that will be instrumental to your success.  The first are those who will staff the PSO.  These individuals face your customer base - they must have the skills and competencies to effectively support project managers and project teams.  It's best if they have been project analysts or project managers who have walked the walk and have experience in facilitation, process development and improvement and a working knowledge of PM tools. The second group is the core team of customers that will assist in the development of processes, tools and techniques.  Not only does this obtain the necessary buy-in, it also part of an effective organizational change process.
  • Process - A common failure point is over-engineer the processes.  Most of us grew up in an environment where processes would fill volumes of three-ring notebooks but that is the past.  Now processes must be lean and adaptable to different situations. You do not want to create a process and hear the first user say: “Can we have the light version?”
  • Technology - A technology strategy is a must for the PSO; without it project management-related tools will proliferate - from spreadsheets to project management information systems like Microsoft Project and Open Workbench, to enterprise project/portfolio management systems.  With a technology strategy the PSO can map the right technology to the processes it will support.  Never buy technology and then attempt to map your processes into it!  Instead build your processes and select the right technical solution.

Bottom line – Build it right and you'll succeed.

    Tags:
    21021

    (12 votes. Average: 2.5 out of 5)

    Rating:
    3 Comments on The Project Support Office: Build It Right, the First Time

    Paul Lombard says:

    Brad
      Thanks for an excellent post. I agree with your points and indeed all of them are critical to success. I would also add one key point based upon my experience; Each organization needs a central PM philosophy.  Joel Barker once observed that “Action without vision is a waste of time, a Vision without action is just a dream, but Vision coupled with action can change the world”. It seems that lots of organizations start building Project Management Offices, and Strategic Project Management Offices without answering some key fundamental philosophical questions;  what is our PM philosophy? what should project management look like in our organization? In other words what is our PM vision? Without a central agreed upon vision, organizational efforts are just disconnected action or work which can quickly fall prey to fad catching, and the adoption of in-congruent practices and ultimately frustration. In some organizations this frustration has led to the cancellation of the PMO. A better practice is to establish a “vision” for your efforts either prior to (recommended), or as a first step after the establishment of the PMO. In this step, the organization needs to define, agree upon and deploy their vision of PM. All PM actions can now be aligned with that vision and a real enduring change to PM practices can be achieved.

    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Excellent Strategy, Waste Management - Topic Resea says:

    [...] and other social environments to life. ‘Let’s get ... market research, surveys and trends     The Project Support Office: Build It Right, the First Time ...  If you answered Project Support Office (PSO), Project Management Office (PMO), Program Management [...]

    Posted on July 18, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Project Management Group - Topic Research, Trends says:

    [...] cohesive networking ... Read More     RECOMMENDED BOOKS           REVIEWS AND OPINIONS     The Project Support Office: Build It Right, the First Time ...  If you answered Project Support Office (PSO), Project Management Office (PMO), Program Management [...]

    Posted on July 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Leave a Comment


    search blog:

    RSS Feed

    Subscribe to our RSS Feed

    Most Recent Posts
    Categories
    Blog Authors

    view all authors

     
    Blog Archives
     
    Blogroll

    Other project management blog sources: