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Steps for Enterprise Project Management Office Creation
By John Filicetti

  1. Establish charter for the Enterprise Project Management Office
  2. Identify and define desired business benefits and measurement methods
  3. Define governance structure
  4. Define the management process
  5. Define leadership and communications protocols
  6. Define risks and develop mitigation strategy
  7. Define project support function
  8. Define integration approach and methods
  9. Create a corporate presence
  10. Get Started!

The following paragraphs give a brief description of what is to be done in each step and why each is important.

  1. Establish charter for the Enterprise Project Office – It is critical to be very clear concerning the purpose and goals of any Enterprise Project Office. This should not be taken for granted and the specific charter for the Enterprise Project Office must be documented and agreed by stakeholders. What is the authority of the Enterprise Project Office? What is it expected to accomplish, exactly? How will it be measured and by what process?
  2. Identify and define desired business benefits and measurement methods – The Enterprise Project Office must understand the desired business benefits. How will success be measured? One of the functions of an Enterprise Project Office is to ensure that the targeted business benefits are clearly documented, agreed among the stakeholders and communicated to all concerned. A means of gathering, measuring, evaluating and reporting metrics related to business benefits must also be defined.
  3. Define governance structure – The need for governance is one of the best reasons to institute an Enterprise Project Office. Very often the strongest rules of governance related to a business initiative will be found within an Enterprise Project Office. Some of the questions are — How will the Enterprise Project Office itself be organized? How will the Enterprise Project Office interact with the operational and developmental functions in the organization? What will the reporting structure look like? Who will be responsible to whom? What reporting processes will be used for status and progress reporting? Where will the Enterprise Project Office itself report? In some cases the Enterprise Project Office reports to a steering committee. In other cases it might report to the CIO. It’s of critical importance to spell this out during Enterprise Project Office set-up.
  4. Define the management process – The process for management, tracking and resolution of issues, impacts, changes and risks must be established. This will include information gathering and reporting, a means for defining when these events have occurred, escalation paths, reporting and the means for resolution and mitigation as well.
  5. Define leadership and communications protocols – Governance is focused on management. Leadership is related to keeping the vision and purpose of the Enterprise Project Office in mind through constant communication regarding both a reiteration of purpose as well as clear communication as change occurs. In setting up an Enterprise Project Office, the means of communication and the leadership principles that will be applied must be defined. How will change be communicated, and the decisions related to change be executed? Who will be responsible to keep the vision and direction that should drive the Enterprise Project Office constantly in everyone’s mind?
  6. Define risks and develop mitigation strategy – Known risks associated with the initiative and a means for mitigating them must be documented as part of set-up. Once the Enterprise Project Office is under way, risk management is a function of impact management.
  7. Define project support function – The projects within the corporation will require support so that methods, tools and procedures can be used in a uniform manner and economies of scale can be achieved. This function by itself is of tremendous value and is sometimes mistaken for the Enterprise Project Office function itself. In any case, project support is an important aspect of a Enterprise Project Office.
  8. Define integration approach and methods – The means of managing and integrating each of the streams of work required to achieve the business objective and deliver the business benefits of the initiatives the Enterprise Project Office is supporting must be defined. If the initiative is to be supported by many projects, a master schedule of all the projects and their dependencies must be maintained. How this will be accomplished on a day-to-day basis must be defined and communicated to all stakeholders and managers within the initiative and Enterprise Project Office.
  9. Create a corporate presence – Additionally, it is recommended the company set aside either a physical or virtual “War Room” to be used for the Enterprise Project Office. The physical room should be set up to accommodate the tracking and management of information such as whiteboards or bulletin boards to allow the posting and tracking of project schedules, financials, changes, and resource schedules. A web or other collaborative workspace should be set up to allow the project teams to deposit project documentation and draw from company supplied project templates. The collaborative workspace would also allow the Enterprise Project Office personnel to consolidate the information from multiple projects, provide mentoring for improvement and consistency, and highlight best practices or other noteworthy items. An Executive Information System front-end or entry point into the collaborative workspace could provide real-time status on all active projects to company and/or client management.
  10. Get Started!
    1. Hire the Enterprise Project Office Director or Chief Project Officer
    2. Set up the web-based Project Office and the physical space if needed
    3. Agree on the project management methodology and templates to be used
    4. Assess current skills and create the training course
    5. Train all project team members in the process, the collaborative workspace, the methodology, and the templates
    6. Start managing all projects with the methodology as a guide and use the collaborative workspace
    7. Coach and mentor project teams
    8. Consolidate all project documentations into Enterprise Project Office documentation

John F. Filicetti, PMP, MBA
John Filicetti is a Sr. Sales Engineer/PM-PMO-PPM Consultant with a great depth of experience and expertise in enterprise project management, project management methodologies, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Project Management Offices (PMOs), Governance, process consulting, and business management. John has directed and managed project management teams, created and implemented methodologies and practices, provided project management consulting, created and directed PMOs, and created consulting and professional services in such areas as project portfolio management, Governance, business process re-engineering, network systems integration, application development, infrastructure, and complex environments. John has enjoyed many years as PMO Director for large corporations in the Seattle area and leads the PMO Roundtable discussion group and forum.

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