Role of the Project Management Officer in the IT Industry
All projects consist of a set of defined activities and tasks that when completed, achieve goals in a targeted time period. All organizations, no matter their size, often juggle a number of projects at the same time with the success of the business hinging on their effective implementation and completion, on time and on or under budget.
For various reasons, it is sometimes a struggle to deliver projects on time and to completion. To guarantee that projects kick-off and deliver successfully in a systematic way, they require the assistance of a professional expert to manage details and follow a set approach from planning and organizing, to executing deliverables, and controlling resources, all while motivating and engaging teams to produce a smooth delivery.
What Is a PMO?
A project management office is an internal group within a company responsible for defining and maintaining standards and repetition for project management. A project management office is a professional within a business organization’s PMO responsible for overseeing projects and making sure they are completed on time and within budget. They make sure that all project activities are managed in a controlled way, maintaining best practices and documenting project status and strategy. These terms are often used interchangeably simply as PMO.
A PMO is most useful to organizations that manage a large number of projects or that involve multiple departments or business units. The PMO can also help to control project expenses through resource allocation and provide transparency by acting as a center of communication across teams and departments.
Many industries utilize a PMO and greatly benefit from the added layer of organization. You will most likely encounter a PMO in industries such as construction, engineering, finance, healthcare, and cable/internet.
The role of the Project Management Officer involves a common set of principles, templates, and practices for managing projects. This individual maintains standards for projects as per the requirements and creates repetition through the use of templates to help maximize time and money. A cyclical system of producing and gathering feedback and producing regular updates from the team leaders to management moves things along at a steady pace. A common way of presenting project reports and related information is through the use of project dashboards that provide a transparent and real-time data account of each and every stop of a project.
PMOs facilitate a center of excellence for project management. They provide guidance on the process, and assist teams and leaders by explaining and reiterating the project execution process. They’re responsible for capturing and documenting new project requests, implementing prioritization models, managing resource capacity, and identifying and addressing risk early on before things can slide off track.
PMO vs. PM
It is important to identify and understand subtle yet key differences between two common entities in project management. There is often confusion when it comes to understanding the difference between a Project Management Officer and a Project Manager.
A Project Management Officer lives within a Project Management Office, which is a specific type of body or department within an organization responsible for internal and external projects on a large scale.
A Project Manager describes an individual leading a single project and managing its goals and objectives.
Resources for PMO
Completing and passing a training course through an accredited organization is a good way to prepare for a PMO role. A training course usually consists of several modules of learning where you will follow the five Project Management Process Groups as defined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) to learn how to structure a PMO for your organization including how to analyze portfolio and project success, implement a governance model, and conduct and apply lessons learned.
There are a number of certifications that can be earned as a way to prove to hiring managers that you know your stuff. The following common PMO certifications are something to consider when powering up your professional project management portfolio:
- Project Management Professional (PMP) earned through the Project Management Institute (PMI)
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM) earned through the Scrum Alliance
- P3O® certification earned through PeopleCert
- P3O® Practitioner earned through PeopleCert
An increase in knowledge by earning professional certifications is beneficial to a project manager in so many ways. Use your time and knowledge to your advantage to:
- Gain a leg up on job hunting
- Increase your value
- Drive your organization towards success
- Analyze and deliver a perfect solution for business problems
- Earn a higher salary
Studies have shown that a PMO is a powerful key to success and the longer a company has a PMO in place, the better their project success rates are. Providing strong direction through set processes wins every time. Not every project needs a PMO, but it does need a PM. A PM with the education and tools to set up a PMO inside an organization is a very valuable asset.
Recommended Project Management Software
If you’re interested in learning more about top rated project management software, the editors at Project-Management.com actively recommend the following: