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PMOs and Law Firms: Lessons from the Field – Tracking Multiple Projects (#3 in the series PMOs and Law Firms: Lessons from the Field)
By Ronald K. Thomas of Baker Robbins & Company

Managing costs, schedules and resources can be the ultimate “Survivor” challenge for PMO personnel. Project managers do not want to run the risk of a project being discontinued due to the inability to accurately report project budget and status. But how many PMO managers have spent countless hours with Microsoft Project or have reverted to Word, Excel and Visio to summarize project information from several projects for reporting to management? It can be a time-consuming, and sometimes discouraging, process.

Fortunately, over the past several years, project management software vendors have brought to market integrated applications that allow for project budgeting, planning and project portfolio management in a single workspace. Such software gives you the ability to manage, monitor, track and report on the health of your projects. It puts the PMO in a position to manage portfolios, people, processes and costs strategically and proactively versus reactively.

You will need to do your own due diligence to determine if such an application is a fit for your organization and to convince senior management of the benefit of such a tool. Look to your IT organization to jointly propose using the application. Implementation of project portfolio management software can be a complex task. Seek assistance from the vendor or a consultant to provide expertise and guidance to ensure implementation success.

This article was first published in ILTA’s July, 2007 white paper titled “Project Management — Broadening Your Scope” and is reprinted here with permission. For more information about ILTA, visit their website at http://www.iltanet.org.

Ronald K. Thomas is a senior consultant and experienced project manager with Baker Robbins & Company. Ron authored the article, “Coaching the Team: Here Is a Game Plan that Works” in the February 2005 issue of Peer to Peer. He also facilitated an ILTA webinar on project management titled, “Setting Up A Project Management Organization: What Is It; Is It Right For You?” He can be reached at rthomas@brco.com.

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