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Steps for Starting a PMO
By John Filicetti

STEP 1 (1-3 months)

  • Meet with Governance or the Project Steering Committee to craft a PMO Director or PMO Manager job description
  • Hire the right people

STEP 2 (3-5 days)

  • Hold PMO Planning session to discuss PMO Roles, assign committee chairs, discuss deliverables, and timeframes

STEP 3 (10 weeks)

Project Inventory Focus (or Committee):

  • Initiate a review of current projects by segmentation: by Division, by Project Management Office, by Initiative, by department or division, etc.
  • In this age of electronic communications, establishing a physical project office will not move your company ahead. You need to establish a collaborative workspace, a Virtual PMO to allow your management, stakeholders, project team members, and clients to stay informed and connected with project information in real time.


  • Project Number (if present)
  • Project Name
  • Project Description
  • Business Initiative Alignment
  • Internal or External
  • Division
  • Department
  • Project Type (Application Development, Infrastructure, etc.)
  • Project Manager
  • Project Sponsor
  • Requestor and Internal Priority
  • Start Date
  • Estimated End Date
  • Actual End Date
  • Percent Complete to date
  • Estimated Budget (Planned Value or Cost Forecast)
  • Actual Cost (AC) to date (may be estimated)
  • Estimated Risk (H, M, L)
  • Customer Impact/Benefit
  • Investment Type (Expense, Capital, etc.)


  • Estimated ROI or Revenue
  • Schedule Variance
  • Cost Variance

If possible, use Collaborative Workspace or Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Tool (such as eProject) to present:

  • Project Health or Status
  • Portfolio Alignment (by Initiative, Goal, LOB, Department, Division, etc.)
  • Project Variances (Costs, Resources, Scope, Change, Schedule, etc.)

Project Development/Training Focus (or Committee):

  • Define Roles and Responsibilities (Project Review Boards, Project Governance Committee, Project Office Personnel, Project Managers, Project Coordinators)
  • Create Job Descriptions
  • Create Career Paths
  • Designate individuals per identified roles
  • Create Project Management Methodology, Templates, and Toolkits by project phases

Project Tools Focus (or Committee) Create Tools Requirements for:

  • Project Management Tool
  • Project Portfolio Management Tool
  • Project Portfolio Scorecard
  • Evaluate tools and make recommendations for solutions.

Hard rule: Tools must work together and training must be a part of solution.

STEP 3 (6 Weeks)

Project Inventory and Governance Focus (or Committees):

  • Make recommendations for retaining, consolidating, shifting project resources, or killing projects based on metrics, duplications, alignment with corporate initiatives, revenue, and project resource availability.

Project Development/Training Focus (or Committee):

  • Create training plan with outlined courses and course progression toward company project management training and certification if desired
  • Ensure every project manager has Development Plan in place for including company project management certification training
  • Create company project management certification training tracking system to track and communicate training progression
  • Develop feedback system to assess training effectiveness

STEP 4 – Implementation (3 months)

Development / Training

  • Initiate company project management certification training
  • Initiate PM Tool(s) training
  • Bi-Weekly Report on training progress and student feedback
  • Communicate PM Career path and post any open positions.


  • Execute PM Tool(s) installation
  • Communicate installation progress and tools strategy


  • Track active projects for PPM updates
  • Offer coaching and mentoring for PMOs and projects without PMO coverage
  • Offer PM Consulting with available resources

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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