PMO - Project Management Office, Effectiveness In Practice

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Developers Unite – PMOs Are Advancing

Angelo Valle Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If you’re a software developer, you are probably convinced that a more responsive, adaptable framework is your best chance of producing working software. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is moving to have a more standardized approach throughout all departments. This is good news for everyone except software developers.

A recently emerging concept in organizational structure is the addition of a Project Management Office, (PMO). This global phenomenon tasks a small group of individuals with the supervision and support of enterprise projects and programs. Their purpose is to introduce consistency in documents and templates, standardized reporting processes, and a uniform way to add business value through projects.

PMOs are intended to be centers of intelligence and coordination. They link strategic business objectives to employees’ actions within departmental projects through unified portfolio management, program management, and project management practices. This is a good thing for your job security.

The PMO’s functions within the business can be:

• Strategic. In this role, the members of the Project Management Office complete functions of identification, selection, and prioritization of the projects which are most closely aligned with the organization’s strategic planning.

• Directive. To fulfill their directive responsibilities, PMO employees define guidelines, standards, and templates. They evaluate and choose how software project managers should apply the best practices, tools, techniques, and software to successfully complete the goals of their development teams.

• Supportive. The PMO provides support to team members and project managers. This may manifest itself as training classes; adjusting templates and documents to make them work in all departments; or working with a project manager on staffing, or other human resource issues.

Project Management Offices are not identical from corporation to corporation around the world. Each business is at a different developmental stage with its project management practices. So, the common name of PMO may encompass numerous hybrid responsibilities drawn from the list above, or unique ones not mentioned.

The PMO provides guidance in suitable standardized and validated tools, techniques, and software; reducing problems due to uncertainty and the growing emphasis on cheaper/better/faster projects. The PMO applies a standardized methodology where necessary and effective: project identification; data collection; analysis; information gathering; distribution; reporting; risk management; procurement; quality; and other project management knowledge areas, such as documentation and communications.

The theme of economic success through a PMO model is a hot topic in international congresses, seminars, and recently published papers. Academic discussions are prolific, because of a growing need to match university experiences with actual “real world” practices. The students of today are the developers of tomorrow.

PMOs are here to stay. If you are currently a software developer, you should be proactive in opening a dialog with your PMO. Communicate your professional success stories and the uniqueness of the software development process. If you don't, you are liable to be saddled with methods, documentation requirements, and procedures that don't fit your needs. Fast, good, high-quality software is in everyone's best interest.

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