The users are the ones that bring a project management system to life, either as collaborators or external consultants. It is imperative that the PMO believes, manages and offers support to all of them.

 

Collaborators or suppliers, everyone is a source of talent.

 

Responsibilities  

A good PMO provides a framework that helps project managers allocate resources correctly because:

  • Projects frequently borrow resources from other business units.
  • Assigning responsibilities haphazardly normally leads to management problems down the line.

A PPM software tool offers various options to help you define the roles in each project from configuring access permissions to the specific function of every project member. You can also assign a ‘task manager’ to each task. This task is now converted into a sub-project and the assigned task manager can follow up on it.

 

Organization

Integrating the company org chart into a PMO tool is a useful way to classify and identify projects/people/activities etc. within the functional hierarchy. Later on, you can also use it to analyze outcomes.

 

Capacity: Planning and Follow-up

Managing capacity is a task requiring the utmost efficiency. It is crucial for the PMO to find the balance between:

  • Efficient management that avoids both over-allocation of resources and non-productive time.
  • The competing demands of business units and cross-unit projects vying for a limited pool of resources.

Managing capacity should be linked to demand management. Frequently, over-allocation of resources is a sign that you cannot keep up with demand. The PMO should have the means to identify this situation and the power to fix it.

The following example offers an excellent module that allows the PMO to plan globally, while analyzing individual capacity and availability.

Whatever its responsibilities are, at the very least the PMO should offer a long-term view of the demand on resources and raise a red flag when imbalances are detected.

 

Communication

If people are the beating heart of project management then communication between them makes project management possible.

 

The PMO’s role is to set up formal communication channels, and to promote and facilitate informal communication between collaborators.

 

Formal communication is related to following up on tasks; it involves specific channels to help team members learn the status of projects and tasks.

The PMO must define key moments when relevant information will be delivered to stakeholders, with the PPM system as the backbone of this process.

  • Formal communication ensures that the required information is delivered to the relevant people in a timely fashion.
  • Informal communication enhances efficiency, enabling team members to discuss and deliver information with all the background at their fingertips.

 

Documentation

Whether it is a task, risk or purchase, every element of every project can generate its own support documentation.

The PMO has several roles when it comes to documentation. The main priority is to reinforce clear management, standardize procedures and ensure that information is properly used.

  • Defining which documents are indispensable, when they should be created and to what entity they should be assigned.
  • Defining documentation formats, in coordination with other business units.
  • Offering an access system to templates and supporting documents, as well as the procedures to use them.

Depending on the responsibilities, the PMO may use some features or other benefits of its PPM tool. For example, the role of project templates can associate documentation models in the different sections of the project.

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When we think about Project Management Office, a project management software is pretty much a necessity. However, there are many other solutions that can make the life of a project manager easier in several facets from productivity to communication. In our last article on apps for PMOs we introduced the first 7 software applications, today we continue the list by presenting you with another 6 tools that will make your work easier and faster. Thank us later ?

 

1. Airtable

Combine Excel, Pinterest, Trello and a database management system and you have Airtable. No jokes. Airtable is an extremely powerful solution that enables you to visualize the same data in various ways: table, Kanban, blocks (Pinterest style), calendar and forms. It’s so versatile that it can be used for almost any activity that requires a database.

logo Airtable

Pros

Airtable is powerful and flexible. It allows you to manage in a single location the data you probably would have separated into different areas. For example, you can use it for demand management in conjunction with ITM Platform. You can create an internal form for project proposals from employees, a table view for project managers to manage the proposals, and a blocks view accessible to the whole organization to inform of the selected projects. Airtable is also customizable with “blocks”, a premium feature that allows users to add new functionalities to tables.

Cons

While great for managing, Airtable is quite poor on the communication side. While there’s the possibility to comment on each line of the table, that’s the extent of its communication capabilities given that there’s no chat feature .

 

2.Visio

If you have ever needed to design a flowchart or a diagram you are probably going to love this one. Microsoft Visio is a diagramming and vector graphics application that is used to design charts swiftly and easily.

logo visio

Pros

Apart from being easy to use, Visio is part of the Microsoft Office family of solutions, which means that it is perfectly integrated with other common solutions like Word or Excel. It also allows users to design 3D map diagrams and to pull information from external sources that can update automatically.

Cons

The main issue of Visio is its compatibility as it only works on Windows. Furthermore, it doesn’t allow for real-time collaboration, without mentioning the hefty price tag (considering that it is unlikely a software you’ll use every day).

 

3. PMO Value Ring

The PMO Value Ring is the perfect software to use in conjunction with a project management software. The software is designed by PMOs for PMOs and is aimed at providing a consistent framework to manage the PMO across different stages of its life cycle.

logo PMO value ring

An example of a complete cycle in PMO Value Ring:

Pros

The tool forces the user to be consistent in the definition of the PMO and all its elements, such as Functions, Roles, Stakeholders etc. All the data can be accessed in a consolidated dashboard view that scores several different aspects like ROI or maturity.

Cons

The downside of the PMO Value Ring is that it is not integrated with any other solution, which means that all the data should be inputted manually. Furthermore, the software enhances and facilitates the management of the PMO but it is separated from the actual project management activity of the office.

 

4. ClicData

ClicData is a very powerful data visualization and BI software. It allows users to create and share dashboards that are automatically updated from the data source.

logo click-data

Pros

Clicdata is integrated with almost anything, at least with all the main apps used for business. This is great as it allows to create dashboards that can then be shared with, for example, a director or CxO, that needs to have access to live data. Another strength of ClicData is that it permits cross-evaluation of data or automatic database merge.

Cons

The interface is drag and drop but this does not mean that it is easy to use: the logic behind the interface is not always the most intuitive and the user needs to have a clear understanding of the structure of the data imported, which is not always bvious when importing data directly from a third-party source. Also, more complex dashboards require some time to set up so ensure to allocate enough time when implementing ClicData.

 

5. Sharepoint

I’m sure many of you are already familiar with SharePoint. For those who don’t know it’s a web-based collaborative platform that is primarily sold as a document management and storage system. But the product is highly flexible and usage varies substantially between organizations. Sharepoint is commonplace in larger organizations where the document management is complex and encompasses several departments.

logo SharePoint

Pros

The main advantage of SharePoint is in its document management capabilities: given its configuration capability you can create several Site Collections, limit their access, from one single, clean interface.

Cons

The main cons of SharePoint are tied to its main strength: as a consequence of being highly configurable Sharepoint is quite complex to manage in its full capability, meaning that you’ll often need to dedicate human resources or hire a consultant.

 

6. Risk assessment matrix

Good planning is essential, so that project managers and the respond to the emergence of risks. ITM Platform’s Risk Assessment Matrix evaluates risks depending on their impact and probability, allowing to visualize the level of risk exposure. Thanks to that information, you can prioritize risk management and reduce exposure!

logo Risk Matrix

Pros

This matrix allows you to register, quantify and share risks and you can share them collaboratively as well.

Cons

The tool can only be accessed online and only covers the risk management part of a Project manager work routine. However, if you need a more integrated application you can try ITM Platform, where the risk management functionality is integrated with a whole set of their features…   What do you think of these 6 tools? Are there any that you’d like to see covered that are not in this list? Let us know

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