Managing a Project Management Office (PMO) is quite challenging. In fact, most organizations recognize the need to observe restraint in running a PMO. To achieve success, organizations work to boost project management skills. In addition, organizations work to improve structures and processes of governance. AtekPC is an organization that specializes in personal computers. The case study shows AtekPC’s attempt to implement a PMO (Project Management Office). This paper will explore the purpose and mission of a PMO. In addition, the paper will examine the challenges and obstacles in implementing a PMO. Furthermore, the paper will study ways of governing a PMO (McFarlan, Kell & Hupp, 2007).
What is the purpose and mission of a Project Management Office (PMO)
PMO has the responsibility of recommending business changes as well as improving efficiency and effectiveness. One of the missions of PMO is to align strategic business directions with the available IT resources. In fact, Strider’s main mission in the project was to achieve alignment. Strider claims that there was no margin for error in achieving the mission of alignment. Moreover, the other purpose for implementing PMO is to enhance efficiency of supply chain as well as minimize distribution costs. Essentially, such cost reduction strategies are aimed at attaining maximum profits. From the case study, it can be noted that the PC industry was experiencing a lot of pressure concerning production cost. Therefore, PMO was initiated to help in reducing these costs. PMO is also launched to provide standardization in the project management.
In addition, PMO is established for the purpose of enhancing performance and planning. Additionally, PMO is implemented to promote better and more consistent practices for IT projects as well as the organization. Another purpose for implementing PMO is to open up new ventures in a challenging business environment. Experiences in 2007 showed slow growth in the PC industry as other devices, such as PDAs and mobile phones, provided services that were once known to be PC-based. These services included email access among others. Therefore, companies in the PC industry needed PMO to help them venture in new IT products and markets that would increase their revenue (McFarlan, Kell & Hupp, 2007).
What are the main challenges and obstacles in implementing a PMO?
One of the challenges of implementing PMO includes organizational culture. For instance, AtekPC’s culture was hostile to the implementation of PMO. This forced the CIO to make small changes over time, which was also quite challenging. Experience in handling PMO is also important. For example, the lack of experience in PC business made implementation of PMO quite difficult for AtekPC. Additionally, an implementation of PMO requires adequate resources.
In the case study, Strider admits having inadequate resources, which delayed implementation of PMO at AtekPC. Moreover, the team that worked on PMO was frustrated because of the slow progress in materializing the implementation of PMO. Other obstacles to the implementation of PMO include focus on the project. In the case study, Strider was involved in more than one project, including PMO; this reduced his effectiveness because of AtekPC’s divided attention. Furthermore, the rapid changes in PC industry is also challenging to the implementation of PMO.
Strider asserts that PC growth had been tremendous but this changed suddenly with increased rivalry from Asian PC makers, who ventured in marketing their PCs instead of continuing with contract manufacturing. Eventually, AtekPC had to move fast to avoid becoming a victim of a hostile takeover. Another critical aspect of the competition AtekPC faced was the rising price competition. This also piled pressure on the company as it tried to implement PMO. Moreover, insufficient PMO expert resource is also an obstacle to implementation of PMO as witnessed in AtekPC’s case (McFarlan, Kell & Hupp, 2007).
What structures and governance mechanisms are critical to effective PMO implementation?
Governance and structures are essential in enabling the implementation of PMO because it addresses agency problem. Additionally, governance achieves conformance, performance, and risk management. Furthermore, governance addresses quality control methods as well as credibility and perception. In essence, Information technology (IT) provides the backbone of governance. IT contributes to regulatory compliance, business risk potential and value. Therefore, structures and governance mechanisms for PMO implementation include defining of target expectations as well as the benefits. It also includes effective leadership from the board.
Moreover, it requires an all-inclusive involvement of the executive in the implementation process. Additionally, governance mechanisms for PMO implementation require broad participation of stakeholders as well as clear ownership. PMO implementation also requires flexibility and execution. Moreover, PMO implementation needs evolution in its implementation as opposed to revolution. PMO implementation also demands cross-functional integration across the board through standardized practices. Other mechanism of implementing PMO would be IT as a core figure in business process. AtekPC considered IT as a peripheral figure in its activities and this slowed implementation of PMO. Business structures also require accommodation of Internet technologies to achieve PMO implementation. Moreover, governance and structures require adequate skills and expert resources to implement PMO successfully. Finally, PMO requires support from the governing executives to achieve successful implementation (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2009).
How much PM is enough?
Project management (PM) is essential to the implementation of PMO. PM helps in providing responsive delivery that, in turn, creates trust in PMO. Project management is considered adequate when the PM is empowered to discharge his/her functions effectively. PM environment is essential for successful implementation of PMO. In fact, it is difficult to implement PMO successfully in a non-PM environment. Therefore, PM is significant to PMO. However, the number of PMs required depends on the model chosen for implementation of PMO. For instance, a light PMO requires fewer PMs than a heavy PMO that needs numerous PMO experts (McFarlan, Kell & Hupp, 2007).
How much PMO support is enough PMO support?
PMO support is considered adequate when it is derived from top management to the very lowest level. The executives of an organization must support PMO to achieve its implementation outcomes. In fact, PMO implementation requires support from all functional areas. Moreover, PMO implementation requires adequate skills and fiscal based support to achieve success. In addition, top down approach is needed to promote PMO implementation. In essence, for successful implementation of PMO, all stakeholders are supposed to support PMO because it takes charge of restructuring and standardizing the organization for consistency and efficiency (Applegate, Austin & Soule, 2009).
AtekPC enjoyed tremendous surge in the 1990s. However, this changed in the 21st century as the PC industry faced competition from emerging companies. PMO became essential in order to be consistent and standardized. Moreover, cultural change was necessary to implement PMO successfully. AtekPC could not adopt the heavy model of PMO due to inadequate resources and support. Nonetheless, the management expressed own interest in achieving successful implementation through the light model.
Applegate, L.M., Austin, R.D., & Soule, D.L. (2009). Corporate Information Strategy and Management (8th ed.). Burr Ridge, IL: McGraw-Hill. Web.
McFarlan, W., Kell, M., & Hupp, J. (2007). The AtekPC Project Management Office. Web.