With a stable base of internal clients and project teams beginning to utilize industry-standard project management principles, the PMO was in a position to expand its reach. In response, the PMO adopted a project life cycle along with associated training programs.
The project life cycle was sponsored mainly by the COO who, in conjunction with the CFO, provided funding to all projects. Therefore, in order to receive project funding, projects needed to follow the life cycle. Prior to the life cycle, project funding did not have a standard method of being applied. The life cycle defined a project, and the associated steps from inception the establishment of the maintenance programs. Unlike many processes that depend on standard forms, this one provided guidelines. The process was not overly cumbersome and just made plain business sense. Therefore, a business case (one of the process steps) for a project could arguably be written on the back of a napkin, assuming it was an excellent case.
Although teams appreciated the freedom the guidelines provided, most utilized the preferred forms as they increased their efficiency. This was especially true given the forms were provided in an easy-to-use guidebook available on the Institute's intranet. For example, if a project needed to hire a vendor, it was much easier to use a request for proposal and contract template than write one from scratch. The forms were viewed more as tools and, hence, gained more Institute acceptance.
By instituting the life cycle, teams were more willing to identify projects and request assistance from the PMO in following the life cycle. With this, the PMO had the foundation to create a project inventory, as well as track project status on a periodic basis. Again, instead of standard status reports being sent to the PMO, the PMO would periodically meet project teams, discuss project status, and adjust the inventory schedule appropriately.
Currently, the PMO tracks projects bi-weekly for schedule, cost, and risk management status in a simple Excel spreadsheet. The results are entered into a project inventory for analysis and prioritization by senior management. The PMO also provides regular training in the project life cycle and fulfills requests for project management assistance in the areas of:
■ business case writing
■ vendor selection and contracting
■ software development life cycles/standards
■ project risk management
■ project planning
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.