What a Project Office Does
Most of our organizations have discovered the impact of "projects"
on the success of the enterprise, and have acknowledged "project management"
as a distinct and valuable discipline. What they have yet to recognize is the
importance of implementing project management under the same structures and centralization
that has become the paradigm for most other disciplines.
As an emerging discipline, it is even more essential that we provide structured
leadership for project management than any other function in the enterprise.
Through this centralized leadership, we can meet so many important needs, that
would not be served without the project office function. The Project Office addresses
- It creates a cadre of people skilled in the art and science of project management.
- These people view their job totally as project management, eliminating the
conflict with other responsibilities. Measurements (and rewards) can be developed
more along the lines of critical project success factors.
- These people reside outside of the individual technical functions, removing
home territory biases.
- The PO becomes a repository for project experience, models and standards
... to be shared with the all project leaders.
- The PO maintains awareness of the "big picture," seeing the whole
project and all of the projects. Therefore, the PO is more readily able to monitor
trends and see global problems. The PO is in a better position to provide information
and reports to senior management, and to make recommendations to resolve conflicts
The Gartner Group (among others) has documented the justification for the Project
Office (or the Project Management Competency Center). They cite four classes
of services that can be provided by such a group, in an IS organization:
- Project Management Services - trainer, consultant, practitioner of PM practices
- Methods, Processes and Metrics - guardian of corporate methodology and standards,
estimating guidelines and metrics. Emphasis is on sharing and exchange rather
than corporate edicts.
- Best-Practice Brokerage - Documents successes and blunders. Search outside
the enterprise for best practices worthy of adopting internally.
- Reuse - of project plan templates, estimates, etc.