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Building an Effective PMO Part 1 – Methodology

A Project Management Office (PMO) is put in place by organizations not to run projects themselves but to help the project managers run their projects effectively. They are there to provide consistency and predictability of your project delivery.

This series of posts will examine several key areas that make up a PMO and how they can add value to your organization.

Part 1 – Methodology

Methodology is the way that an organization gets things done. It represents a collective of processes, tools, and techniques that all sum up to a consistent method of delivery. Without a defined methodology, the organization cannot provide any sort of a playbook to their project delivery teams and as such can expect unpredictable results.

What Makes up a Methodology?

A methodology needs to be tailored to the business based on the type of business they are in, the industry served as well as what products and services are being sold. Regardless of these factors there are a multitude of best practices that can be drawn upon however these need to be modelled specifically for the business to get the right fit. Your methodology needs to consider several factors. First – is your product a COTS (commercial off the shelf) product? Or do you focus primarily on custom builds? Second – how ‘project mature’ is your customer base? How much handholding will they require through the process? Third – how mature is your product? Can it stand on its own or does it need a deeper level of configuration and attention throughout the project? Answering these questions will help determine what your methodology is going to look like.

Methodology Documentation

A methodology is only as good as how well it is documented and understood. Putting together the methodology is a great first step but the follow-on documentation is what really makes it shine. Detailed documentation needs to accompany your methodology so that it can be widely and consistently understood throughout the organization (and with your customers as well). Key pieces of documentation that you need to consider for your methodology include a high-level diagram laying out your distinct project phases as well as a deeper dive document that outlines key activities and tasks, roles and responsibilities for each phase. Speak about your deliverables and key milestones so that everyone is aware as to what the goal to be achieved is.

Building a PMO is not a simple or quick process. However, it all starts with developing and documenting a strong methodology. Stay tuned for Part 2!


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