Updated: Oct 25, 2021
Building a PMO is a very challenging yet rewarding task. In my last post I talked about the importance of methodology, not just from a PMO perspective but from being able to deliver consistently and predictably (if I were into tattoos I would get those words tattooed on my arms). Today we’re going to talk about another very important aspect of building a PMO and something that greatly contributes to the consistency of your delivery – templates.
Use Best Practices
So often I see templates born out of whatever was done on the last project. This is very common in PMO’s where either there is just not enough time in the day to dedicate to building an effective template set or if the PMO simply doesn’t know enough about the organizational delivery process. Typically, a PMO manager will have significant project management experience and should draw on that experience when building or directing template construction. Remember that there are two key values that a template will bring – doing it the same(ish) way each time and to make sure that key parts of the methodology are not forgotten – it’s tough to ignore a section in your document that you need to fill out that was part of the template. So, remember – don’t just base your template around what worked last time, use your experience and project management best practices to ensure that your templates cover everything they should. Your job is to improve delivery, and this is low-hanging fruit on how to do it.
Demonstrate Your Templates
If your project managers are not directly involved in template construction (I highly recommend that they are), then you need to ensure that you have full buy-in from the project managers on the design and the use of your templates, otherwise your efforts will be all for naught. So, if they are not involved in building the templates you need to demonstrate your templates to them and ensure that you capture their feedback. This can be done either through a formal demonstration of your template set or as project managers are building a document that needs to be based on one of your templates – work directly with them to help build the first one and then you can see how the template performs in the field. Remember – buy-in from the project managers is the goal – don’t be afraid to accept constructive feedback. After all, it’s the project managers who will ultimately be the customers of these documents.
Templates are a vital piece of any good PMO and by relying on industry & organizational knowledge as well as best practices, you will set your team up for success and take one step closer to your goal of total predictability and consistency.