Everyone´s starting point is different, but we can all agree you need a steady foundation when building anything and your PMO´s framework is no exception. It should be clear and shared by the entire organization. We’ll guide you through planning, implementing and disseminating your PMO. Whether you´re familiar with ITM Platform or not, our examples are a ¨one-size-fits-all¨. This design assists in  highlighting situations that you may encounter along the way and applicable to most cases.

So, let´s dive in to the 6 essential elements you need to consider in order launch your PMO framework.


Download the eBook: How to set up a sustainable PMO with ITM Platform


1. Project types

First, decide what kind of projects you’re running; the type of project will also govern its lifespan.
As you implement (or relaunch) the PMO it’s a good moment to reflect on the variety of projects in the portfolio and possibly take time to redesign them. A PMO can also manage operations if they consist of specific tasks that are assigned to different teams. Managing projects and operations together from the PMO is especially useful when the resources and clients involved are the same.

This is the case with software development projects, or products that require maintenance by the same team that developed the original project. The Kanban methodology is useful for managing services because it offers an organized structure in which you can see the status of tasks at a glance. More importantly it allows you to limit the flow of work according to your resources.

The service concept is also incorporated into ITM Platform – you can create entities for the sole purpose of managing operations.


2. Workflows

A workflow allows you to map out all the possible statuses that a project goes through. Make sure it is based on the business’s procedures – don’t be tempted to invent statuses that do not reflect the reality of the company.
The workflow is defined by two main components:

  1. The changing status of a project
    For example, we can decide that when the status of a project is designated as ‘draft’ that can only be changed to ‘started’ or ‘discarded’.
  2. The conditions for changing the status and who is authorized to grant permission for that change.
    Make the conditions for changing statuses as simple as possible; you can always increase the complexity later, and you may even find that there is no need to do so.

A word of advice: do not replace the work of defining organizational procedures with a workflow. The workflow should be a conveyor belt, not a control mechanism.


3. Priorities

It's very easy to configure the different degrees of priority, but the work of a PMO starts way before this: you have to agree what each priority means. It should be extremely clear what “high priority” or “medium priority” means. Obviously, medium is higher than high, but does that mean that you shouldn’t start with the medium priority ones until the high priority ones are finished? Should we put twice as many resources into high priority versus medium priority?

The PMO should know the actions associated with each priority and make this clear to everyone else so that the organization makes homogenous decisions.


4. Risks

Good project management is in essence risk management and a PMO ensures that this function happens consistently throughout the decision-making process.
The formula impact x probability = exposure level is only useful if it leads to consistent decisions by project managers.

Identifying risks is a tricky business as it’s often subjective and affected by personal bias. The PMO standardizes procedures using criteria and tools approved by the board, backed by the project managers.


5. Waterfall or agile methodologies?

Both of these methodologies can co-exist in one integrated portfolio as long as the PMO establishes criteria to decide on the appropriate methodology for each project.
Some organizations make all decisions – waterfall or agile – based on politics. This kind of decision making can lead to patchy results.
If your organization decides on agile methodologies for all projects – while at the same time demanding medium and long-term deadlines – the methodology probably hasn't been chosen on the basis of solid criteria.

To determine which methodology to use the PMO should ask:

  •  Is the result of the project relatively uncertain or are we well aware of the outcomes?
  •  Is the project subject to deadlines which govern the date of deliverables or is a short-term vision of all the tasks enough?
  • Are sponsors and clients willing to have continual involvement in the project without knowing the final outcome? Or will they happy to be less involved and just accept the final outcome?


If your organization decides on agile methodologies for all projects – while at the same time demanding medium and long-term deadlines – the methodology probably hasn’t been chosen based on solid criteria.


6. Project templates

One of the major benefits of a PMO is that it allows you to capitalize on knowledge accumulated from previous projects. Be sure to put mechanisms in place to recover the lessons that have been learned. That way the know how isn’t lost when the project ends but can be applied later on.
Creating project-specific templates means the contents can be re-used in future projects. Another benefit of templates is to re-use frequently used structures just by changing dates and figures. It’s similar to those cooking programs when the chef says ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’.

A good PMO ensures that the knowledge stays within an organization, and not only at the level of the individuals involved.

This online PMO & Organization Self-Assessment can help you get started and analyze your organization.

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Planning and implementing a PMO has a rhythm of its own. Don’t be tempted to rush. You risk chaos if the process rushes ahead of the organization’s own maturity by trying to tackle all the stages at once.

Download our new eBook: How to set up a sustainable PMO with ITM Platform

So what can businesses and project managers do to ensure essential components of  projects are being completed in time and on budget? In this article we develop the 5 main keys of success.


Keys to success

A good plan is only useful if it can be implemented in the field. For that you need adequate resources and a favorable environment. Before creating a PMO:

1. Make sure you have the right skill set

Ensure that your people have the right skill set. If you have neither the team nor the required skill set, it’s a good idea to limit the scope of the PMO so that it can be set up without the risk of failure. Embarking on a PMO without the appropriate know how is like setting sail on a ship without skilled sailors, the enterprise will unravel at the first ill wind.

2. Start with high-visibility, high-impact projects

Like every other business unit, the PMO must prove its worth from the very beginning to win over naysayers. A smart PMO manager will look to deliver early wins on to the scoreboard.  This is not always easy because of its cross-functional – and according to detractors – unnecessary nature. Tackle the most widely acknowledged problems first.

3. Identify the needs of the business clearly

The organization and the business have needs that may or may not have been explicitly identified. Meeting these needs should be your starting point. That way you’ll start off on the right foot, giving you enormous leverage when it comes to defending your decisions in the future. Do your research.

For example, as a PMO expert you may consider it vital to set up a document template repository. But maybe what your stakeholders actually need is a way to decide how progress on projects is measured.

4. Have a solid framework

And which is integrated into the business. A PMO that acts as a lone wolf is destined to fail. It is important that there are simple, fluid communication channels to ensure that everyone is working in the right direction. Put these in place from the outset.

5. Draw up clear key performance indicators

Having a lot of indicators does not necessarily mean having lots of information. Make sure that you not only have the right tools but also that the KPIs are relevant to your business.


What to consider for a consistent roadmap

To create a consistent roadmap, you should take into account:

  • The maturity of the organization.
  • The goals suggested by the Board of Directors.
  • The available resources.
  • Positive and negative environmental factors.

With these parameters, we know our start and end points, the resources available and the pace at which we should go.

An example of a roadmap

Let’s take as an example Booksy360, a mid-sized publishing company. This is their  roadmap divided into four stages, starting from a tactical PMO and moving towards a strategic one.

Period 1

Booksy360’s PMO steering group decides to establish a basic communication system, using a common language. In this system planning is based only on timeframes and deliverables. Document templates are created for each project type. Stakeholders will receive reports about the status of their individual projects and Booksy360’s board will be kept up to date via a regular portfolio report.

Period 2

All communication channels are now established. The PMO encourages collaboration between units and projects. Inventory and purchasing are added as extra elements to plan, manage and control. Resource management is now based on professional profiles, such as editors, writers and production engineers.

Period 3

Formal risk management starts, agreed by all departments. Alongside this Booksy360 initiates change and quality management. Even if these were taking place informally before, now they are at the heart of the process.

Period 4

The final stage is when the actual strategic contribution starts. But it is long way down the line so for now Booksy360’s steering committee predicts it will include portfolio planning, benefit realization management and governance

The online PMO & Organization Self-Assessment may help you analyze your organization.

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enterprise resource planning (erp), hraphs, dollars, construction, tools, team

ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning systems) are the widest and most complex category of business software. As they are dedicated to all kinds of resources management, they must coexist with other business solutions which are more dedicated to business, such as PPM systems. In this article, we provide the keys regarding the limits of each tool and tips for a successful integration.

Sometimes, at ITM Platform we receive integration requests from some of our clients’ ERPs. In the following example, we explain what the coexistence rules are between a Project Portfolio Management system and an ERP.

Why ERP and PPM should coexist: a common story

A great ticketing agency hires a business controller to carry out an evaluation of the company’s internal processes. Its mission is to suggest improvements oriented to solving data discrepancy problems which currently exist between the finance department and commercial divisions. These matters are having important political repercussions because they affect sensitive issues such as the calculation of bonus at the end of the year.

From the first moment, the expert supposes that the problem is within the business software that the company is using. Or, in other words, within the incoordination between the different management tools that have been adopted in different areas of the company, in which the CIOs figure doesn’t exist.

An ERP with duplicated information is a bad ERP

Our business controller discovers that no one has taken the effort to define information flows between ERP (a kind of a feral version of SAP) and the company’s project portfolio management system. The consequence is that there are parallel processes with divergent results whose origin is difficult to estimate. Basically, the ERP doesn’t get to capture the complexity of a project’s cost structure in which there are cost estimates, real bills, calculated costs of internal and external hours, reported and accepted…

From that moment on, a decision is taken: PPM system, oriented to business generation, should be the entry point for all the information related to the organization’s projects, so that PPM project’s financial data “rules” over ERP and disagreements can be eliminated.

This example is typical within ERP integration and project management software. Generally, it is advisable to give autonomy to PPM system in order to support the projects’ activity solvency.

5 keys to ERP’s successful integration with a PPM system

Even though each company will have different use cases and specific necessities, there are some clear recommendations for the successful integration of ERP with a PPM system.

  1. Let each system do its job. Data integration must be limited to what it is strictly operative. it is not advisable to design an integration which turns out to be an even greater complexity. On the other hand, orient yourself by three basic goals: avoid work duplication, avoid data divergence and promote transparency.
  2. Share the necessary information. In a corporate environment, there cannot be black boxes. But we aware about the amount of information you share: when transparency is perfect, informative noise can be very loud with a very high productivity cost. That is why it is often advised not to send ERP more project data than the strictly necessary to carry out administrative and financial control tasks.
  3. Choose a flexible PPM. Many PPM systems only send aggregated information about project costs, hindering project costs allocation to different items. By contrast, ITM Platform can send information with the desired granularity thanks to its open API (see documentation).
  4. Don’t slave away your project managers by forcing them to adopt the projects’ module of you ERP. As you can see down below, the best way to integrate ERP and PPM is by letting ERP be in charge of the administration and PPM face all the complexity and the flexibility that a project demands.
  5. Encourage collaboration around projects and the standardization within ERP. Apart from data integration, every technological integration process must face human and change management components. Designed procedures must leave enough operating space for project experts, taking advantage of communication and team cooperation systems, which sets out the PPM solution. On the other hand, ERP usually keeps to much stricter, standardized and mandatory procedures.

What sections of a project are covered by ERP?

When analyzing information systems and data flows in which a business environment is based, it is essential to know in advance what the connected areas are and possible overlaps between different platforms.

There are 4 points in which ERP administrative control layer comes into contact with projects:

In all these areas, it is crucial to design automatic flows from the portfolio management system to the ERP, specifying in each case the needed granularity and not sending invalid data as, for example, the estimated cost of a task.

What can't an ERP do?

The perception of an ERP being a business management machine which serves for any kind of activity can be a very big strain for corporate projects’ health.

For example, here are 5 areas in which ERP does not meet operative standards required by a portfolio management software

  • Resources planning: even though ERP can calculate and manage resource payments, only PPM has the enough flexibility to plan the resources and to be adapted to delivered work as it is being produced.
  • Project methodology: PPM tools are designed to be configurable to project methodologies in almost every environment. In addition, its functional scope is, as in ITM Platform’s case, very ambitious, gathering in one place financial and efforts data, risk planning and management, business goals, documents, deliverables, etc.
  • Task management and access to team members: the work content is difficult to manage from an ERP as, generally, the number of project team members with access to the environment, as well as its collaborative characteristics, is limited.
  • Portfolio view: PPM systems have prearranged project and portfolio signs and metrics which give a real-time image of the projects’ advancements, apart from allowing to work with customized exportable reports. Obtaining a similar view from an ERP means a tremendous configuration effort and hundreds of consultancy hours, while with ITM Platform it is about a few weeks.

Keep on reading:

Benefits of connecting your CRM to your project management tool

Your bank’s mobile app would not exist without unified Project Portfolio Management

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analytics and e-management of data on dashboard. graphs, diagramsOne of the most complex goals for a project manager is to manage all project components in a coordinated and unified manner. This is known as project integration.

Integration is probably the most crucial area of ​​knowledge: it is no coincidence that it’s the first of the 10 areas recognized by the PMBOK. In fact, it is most directly concerned with project governance and the project manager's ability to "be everywhere."

ITM Platform is a project management software specifically designed to help make integration not an impossible task. Its navigation menu puts all the components of the project in one easy to view panel, so that it is possible to access them and control them with a simple click.

Project home, ITM Platform

Test the ITM Platform project menu and start integrating seamlessly

In this article we review how to solve the most important aspects of project integration with ITM Platform. You can continue reading about project integration in this article.

1. Project Approval

Every project begins with its approval, which, according to PMBOK, should be reflected in an Act of Constitution of the Project.

How to do it in ITM Platform

ITM Platform allows you to configure the flow of approval status’ of the project, adapting it to the realities of each organization.

the flow of approval status’ of the project

In addition, when creating a project, it is mandatory to indicate the approval status, which by default is listed as "pending".

The Constitution Act can be uploaded in the project documents section so that the responsible person can review the documentation before making the decision.

Request a demo session to see how ITM Platform can fit your organization

2. The project management plan

Project planning with ITM Platform can begin with the design of a schedule, but goes much further.

How to do it in ITM Platform

  • Gantt or Kanban: For predictive projects or for agile teams. Both project planning and portfolio/program aspects are fully compatible with both methodologies.

  • Purchases, revenues and budgets: Once the project budget has been entered, ITM Platform is responsible for tracking each invoice, measuring the distance between the estimated budget and actual expenditure. In the purchases tab,

  • Risk management: In the risk view it is possible to plan and consult the risks associated with the project, which can be evaluated with our risk assessment matrix.

3. Monitoring and control of project work

The control of project work has several fronts:

  • From the team tab you can assign project responsibilities to the team, while from the Gantt / Kanban tabs you can track progress in the tasks.

  • From the Follow-up tab of the project menu you can add quick progress evaluations for the whole project.

  • The budget tab allows you to compare the estimated budget with actual values

Start monitoring your projects with ITM Platform

 The budget tab

  • The dashboard offers a panoramic view of the most important indicators of the various components and is a working tool that our clients use continuously for internal reports and to support decision making.

Project cost/Actual cost

4. Beyond the project menu

Certain processes of integration more related to the administration of the organization live outside the project view.

  • Communication: ITM Platform has a contextual communication network that enables the exchange of information at any scale: notifications throughout the organization, project discussions or task discussions.

  • Stakeholders: This is one of the most differentiated features of ITM Platform. The external clients section connects projects with their profitability, facilitating a project-oriented customer relationship analysis.

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coding and programming mobile applications for devices An area of ​​knowledge is, according to PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), "an identified area of ​​project management defined by its knowledge requirements and described in terms of its processes, practices, initial data, results, tools and techniques that compose them. " In fact, all project management processes contained in the PMBOK are divided into 10 areas.

Start integrating the components of your projects with ITM Platform and keep control over activities, resources, costs, suppliers, customers, risks and much more.

In addition to the famous 6 phases of project management, the PMBOK contains 10 areas of knowledge:

  • Project integration

  • Project scope management

  • Project time management

  • Project cost management

  • Project quality management

  • Project Human Resource Management

  • Project Communication Management

  • Project Risk Management

  • Project Procurement Management

  • Project Stakeholder Management

In this article, we review the first area of ​​knowledge: Project integration.

The management of PMBOK project integration brings together the processes and activities necessary for the project to exist beyond its parts. Without integration, the project is nothing more than a value proposition with a goal; Once the components are identified and defined to integrate them around the scope to be produced, the project is sufficiently defined to be accepted.

Integration, however, should not be confused with initiation: in fact, it is a beginner's mistake to integrate the components only when defining the project: integration must be maintained throughout the project life cycle, along with the six management processes in this area of ​​knowledge.

The 4 keys to improvement in this area of ​​knowledge are:

  • Gain ​​acceptance

  • Create an attack plan

  • Be willing to make concessions and rectifications

  • Learn from mistakes and successes in project closure

Obtain acceptance

Integration management will be effective if we gain the support of all team members and, above all, stakeholders. Getting acceptance from the start of the project ensures that we have the support and funding to succeed. To do this, we start by creating a Project Plan and a Preliminary Reach Statement.

The Project Plan marks the beginning of the project and includes the necessary approvals and corrections. In addition, it authorizes the project manager to direct and organize the resources, which will be reflected in this letter, being well defined in their roles and responsibilities.

In the Preliminary Scope Statement we indicate the scope of the project, we define the reasons for undertaking this initiative, the objectives, the possible limitations, the possible solutions and identify the important stakeholders affected by this project. This document defines the project itself, as well as the strategy that must be followed for the change control process.

With these two documents we will be able to guarantee that the resources are coordinated and programmed in the form and time that are needed.

Create an attack plan

We begin by identifying the activities that will be necessary to effectively execute, manage and monitor the project. It will be necessary to have a project management software that allows for planning and supervision of the project at any time and from anywhere.

With a Gantt, we can visualize the project tasks and the assigned resources. In addition, we will get daily status updates, necessary to effectively manage the project.

As the project progresses, so that reporting and monitoring among all team members is more accurate and timely, we should emphasize that everyone updates the completion status of their tasks. Otherwise, its use is very easy and intuitive.

Be willing to make concessions

One of the biggest challenges that we will face in implementing the project is the management of people. The interests and opinions may be overlapping between managers of different departments and on multiple occasions they may ask to make changes in the planning of our project.

For us to be effective we must be willing to make concessions, although we may not always be able to give them what they ask of us. Above all is the project, which must meet the objectives and requirements set out in the Project Plan.

We must ensure that the team is doing its part of the project correctly and make sure that the work is completed according to the requirements in the Preliminary Reach Statement. We must monitor and control project work by measuring and balancing project progress; and carrying out corrective or preventative actions, to ensure compliance with all objectives.

It is important that we follow the established process for change control as defined in the Preliminary Reach Statement, and when a change request is made, make sure it goes through the appropriate channels before it becomes part of the plan.

Each change request must be evaluated individually and we would only implement validated and approved changes that will help us to achieve the project objectives.

Learning from mistakes and also successes

At the beginning of the project we clearly defined all the activities, and at the end of the project all we have to do is verify that the activities are all completed and that the final product or service meets the expectations of the client and the interested parties. It is desirable that we obtain written approval of the completion of the project.

Once the project is finished, it is about learning from any mistakes and successes. We organize a formal meeting with the team members and have a brainstorming session, listing one by one all the errors observed during the project. We also make a list of things that went well.

The weaknesses that we have encountered, the threats of the environment suffered, the strengths that we have detected as a team and the opportunities that we have known or did not take advantage of, everything learned in this experience, will serve us for the next project in which we will be more effective.

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