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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cloud computing vector. backing up and storing business data via cloud computing. vector illustration.

Download our comparison of MS Project versus ITM Platform

Industy standards that consolidate at certain historical moments are often more strongly influenced by the human tendency to conservatism than by the value they bring.

It may seem like a bold statement, but there is a plethora of literature on it. It will be clearer with an example: the QWERTY keyboard came from a salesman trick: agents who sold typewriters demonstrated the amazing ease of use by typing the word "typewriter" using only keys in the upper row of the keyboard.

However, many people still believe that the QWERTY keyboard was created after extensive studies on the relationships between English vocabulary letters and, therefore, is optimized for English speakers.


This is the case of MS Project, which appeared in the era of the personal computer and propelled the digital consolidation of project management methodologies in hundreds of thousands of organizations. Just as QWERTY has never been replaced by an alternative keyboard due to the resistance of the typographers (first) and the millions of users (after) who were already accustomed to a certain configuration, the continuity in using MS Project is not due to a rational comparison between alternatives evaluated on an equal footing, but the enormous power of continuity.

What both products have in common is the combinatorial use to generate a superior result to its parts. The integration of characters and components creates a coordinated meaning. In this situation, replacing all functions with different access modes in an alternative generates major issues in the transition.

But there is the difference between the two examples. While QWERTY has captured 100% of users, Microsoft Project only has 67% of the market share in project management, and 15% in portfolio management, according to Statista.

How does MS Project market share compare to QWERTY? Data

This rate will go down for one simple reason: MS Project is a product anchored in the past. There are many reasons to dismiss it in favor of a solution based on a contemporary digital paradigm, that is: collaborative, distributed and connected.

So, what are the main reasons for leaving behind MS Project?

The question could also be formulated in the opposite direction: What reason is there to continue using MS Project? It is fundamentally a desktop program and is for personal use? Is it that it’s comfortable? Or a false perception of the balance between advantages and disadvantages?

Let's review the motivations for replacing MS Project with a SaaS solution like ITM Platform:

MS Project is single user (ITM Platform is multi-user)

In MS Project, the working model is a project manager who creates the project plan, saves it to a file on a local hard drive ... and makes changes manually.

"In ITM Platform, your team can be an army permanently connected." 

Overcoming the native limitations of MS Project as a desktop solution is very costly even for small teams. While ITM Platform is worth $ 1,000 USD per year to support teams of up to 7 people, that same amount can only serve 1.5 people with the most affordable version of MS Project online.

In addition, since MS Project does not have project approval mechanisms and state changes, anyone can make changes to .mpp files on a shared server without prior discussion, without approval flows or notifications to the parties involved.

On the contrary, ITM Platform works from a network model, so users do not work on files, but in environments: shared project ecosystems common to each organization. This model has important implications:

  • Users have differentiated access profiles, so they make modifications exclusively in their area of ​​responsibility;
  • No action by other users goes unnoticed: the system generates notifications about changes made to projects and tasks, as well as allowing contextual communications.
  • In short, thanks to the ability of team members to report hours and progress, the distance between planning and execution is much shorter and more efficient than MS Project.

ITM Platform is designed for strategic planning - MS Project is not

MS Project focuses on improving its timeline; ITM Platform in alignment with business objectives

When considering this aspect, the history of project management as a discipline is of particular importance. With its expansion beyond the fields of engineering to assert itself as an organization management model, the demands on the priority aspects with which software must comply have changed.

MS Project has not responded to those needs, having preferred to concentrate on the complexity of planning aspects.

In contrast, ITM Platform allows you to introduce business objectives, study different scenarios and make decisions based on actual data for which projects to execute.

MS Project requires expensive installations - ITM Platform is cloud based

"ITM Platform is a tool for organizations; MS Project is software for the personal use of project managers." 

This distinction has nuances: MS Project Server is the version for organizations that Microsoft offer. However, the process of moving from the personal to the organizational version can cost between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000. In addition, the on premises installation requires MS, SQL and Sharepoint servers as a starting point, as well as advanced technical expertise in those fields.

On the other hand, the deployment of ITM Platform in an organization is much more agile, since it does not require any type of installation (clarification: we offer on-premises installation for the organizations that demand it, but it is a marginal option among our customers). Including all parameterization and initial training, our customers begin to use ITM Platform in terms of between two days and two weeks.

Build a PMO in a week ... or in an eternity

"ITM Platform is an ideal tool to create a project management office." 

For adoption facilities and portfolio management capabilities, ITM Platform is an ideal tool for organizations that already manage projects from the initiative of individual project managers and that are about to create a project management office. While MS Project Server requires a remarkable economic and human effort to simply deploy the tool, ITM Platform is a catalyst for centralized management, thanks to the ability to focus on the methodological aspects that really matter.

MS Project does not offer control over basic integration components

The management of basic components of project integration - such as costs and billing of projects - are done outside of MS Project, so anyone who only accesses the .mpp file has no visibility to these modifications.

On the other hand, ITM Platform's solution includes cost management, making it an excellent candidate for integrations with ERP systems. Another example of the holistic ITM Platform approach is risk.

MS Project has a closed philosophy - ITM Platform an open philosophy

In the era of online business productivity, where most players integrate solutions through API to achieve more ambitious automation flows, Microsoft maintains a closed philosophy that only allows to connect their own solutions with each other: Excel, Access, and so on. Even so, the possibilities to connect MS Project are deficient. It is impossible, for example, to receive custom notifications in Outlook when modifications are made to projects.

On the contrary, ITM Platform strives to coexist with the systems of all our clients: we don’t want to bring about traumatic changes.

Not only do we have a complete API for developers from any organization to connect their ERP, accounting or CRM systems; there are also integrations with JIRA and Slack, as well as an upcoming presence in Zapier.

MS Project is rigid - ITM Platform is flexible

According to Mark Corker, president of Seradex Web Services, software complexity and the repercussions of preprogrammed options to readjust dates in dependency tasks have the counterproductive result that 99% of MS Project projects have no reliable dates.

On the contrary, ITM Platform is based on a flexible software model: resilient adaptation goes from the technology to the user, and not the other way around. That's the reason why ITM Platform is enjoyed not just by project managers, but also by CFOs, CEOs, CIOs, IT Analysts, and a long etcetera.

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meditating businessman balancing work and personal life, heart and tool When evaluating different tools, soft virtues such as the ability to adapt to different situations are often overlooked.

The concept of resilience has been popularized from its origin in psychology and environmental sciences to have multiple uses.

It is said that someone is resilient when he manages to overcome adverse situations. A resilient material regains its shape when the external pressure ceases; A plant, when it survives a period of drought. A resilient organization is one that manages to reorient its business model to the pressures from the market.


However, resilience is seldom mentioned as an advantageous feature for software products that can tolerate stressful situations. Given that B2B software is reaching new degrees of specialization, it may seem strange.

Let us explain the model of Software as a Service with ITM Platform.

Let's begin to consider resilience as a priority factor when evaluating different business software alternatives, in particular SaaS solutions.

SaaS B2B software suffers from a widespread problem: adoption rates by end users. Friction is, in this sense, the biggest barrier to return on investment.

What characterizes resilient software? What does it mean to be able to tolerate and survive adverse circumstances? Somehow, the stress test moves from the user to the tool itself. In the most difficult situations for a company, such as the adoption of a new management software, the tool has features that allow it to adapt and respond positively to a variety of uses by users.

More specifically, we look at an example from the project management industry. A project management software, for example, will be resilient if:

  • it covers different styles, methodologies and organizational processes, without forcing specific behaviors on the part of the users that require previous training

  • assumes in its system the dichotomy of agile versus predictive

  • allows for managing operations in addition to the projects themselves

  • is able to coexist with the intensive use of other products in linked areas of the core business

  • manages to increase its value from the appearance in other software environments (e.g. apps and integrations)

In the case of ITM Platform, for example, its resilient features include, but not limited to, the following factors:

  • ITM Platform is a very useful tool for expert project managers, because it welcomes, in its core, most of the aspects that should be considered in the integration of projects. However, it does not require specialized knowledge, to the point that it has an excellent reception in organizations that are taking the first steps in their orientation to projects.

  • Instead of covering a very specific niche, ITM Platform offers a competitive combination of complete but easy-to-use features. It is not necessary to take advantage of everything the machine can do to get going.

  • As far as the user experience is concerned, the navigation menus opt for maximum visibility of the benefits, instead of requiring a very precise knowledge of the platform

  • There are multiple access routes for the most essential functions

These points are just some examples of why I consider resilience to be a very valuable principle in assessing the ease of maintaining software use when circumstances change, motivations to use software, and coexistence with other business information systems.

Jaime Capitel
Senior Content Strategist
ITM Platform

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Collaborative work has changed the workplace. Every day more and more companies are choosing to work remotely from home. Thus, office maintenance costs are saved and the quality of life of workers is improved.

The savings in time and transportation, added to the greater schedule flexibility achieved with these new work systems, means every day more workers are choosing this system, because for workers it is easier to accommodate work and family life.

According to satisfaction studies both workers and companies prefer this method to the traditional office system.

In addition, telecommuting enables companies to choose workers located anywhere in the world, on the sole criterion their suitability for the job offered, without geographical restrictions.

long hands characters keys to teamwork success production process concept with computers poster flat abstract vector illustration

Even for those who decide to continue with the traditional office work, the use of remote working tools allows a degree of interaction and flexibility that they could not otherwise get.

In a world in which the use of technology is essential for communications and business, using the appropriate software can make the difference between the success and failure of your business.

In this article we'll give you some tips to help you choose the best collaboration software for your company.

Identifying the problem

In order to find a solution, it should raise the problem that needs to be solved. The software will be different depending on your needs. Just as there are sectors where communication is more important than in other more traditional sectors, it is not the same as an international company with hundreds of employees than a local company with few employees who tend to live near their workplace.

Users also participate in the decision making

The company decisions that affect everyone should have the greatest possible consensus, especially those who will be affected by the changes and, after all, use the tool. If they like it and it suits them, adoption is feasible; otherwise, it will become quite a problem.

Good software requires good implementation to squeeze the most out of its technological capabilities, achieve maximum efficiency and get the most benefit for the workers themselves and for the company.

Therefore, the choice of a particular type of software should have the opinions of all the staff who will be using it.

A practical example would be the design of a hospital. Doctors and nurses should be the first port of call when it comes to designing a hospital. The distribution of space and resource management cycles should include information and advice from healthcare workers who subsequently use the facility. In other words, distributing the different services so that they can provide the best patient care is something that exceeds the limits of architecture and economic management.

Returning to project management, using IT solutions can be a breakthrough, as long as they are understood and properly used by the personnel involved, you should obtain answers and solutions to their questions or problems. Therefore, the adoption process must include information collection cycles, both formal and informal. Discussion sessions, surveys or even the use of software testing by the technical staff are some of the alternatives.

Evaluate programs from different companies

When evaluating alternatives, it is likely that most companies offer a similar basic service, so this section will not help you decide on one or the other. However, if you dig deeper under the conditions that each offers, you will note that differences do exist. Some present more complex algorithms or specific utilities that help you perform the most complicated of tasks.

For example, in the case of ITM platform we present, among other utilities, a specifically integrated communication functionality in each of the work panels.

Another increasingly popular trend in both the United States and the rest of the world, is the utilization  of team communication platforms such as Slack. This company is looking to transform business communication by adopting the traditional model of chat rooms and adapting them to the needs of modern organizations. One of the most interesting aspects is the fact that, similarly to giants Facebook or Google, Slack are opening an ecosystem of apps developed by third parties with simple text commands entered using the backslash key. While some are humorous, like the one that lets you send animated images taken from giphy, other apps can solve quick calculations or retrieve specific information that a member of another department may need, without opening another window. This communication tool is evidently improving productivity within the workplace.

Consider software integration

Whatever system you choose, it should be integrated into your workflow and accessible to all members of your team.

So, ideally, this would be a cloud software that allows synchronization of all information anytime, anywhere and at the same time allows the maximum number of tasks without leaving the software itself.

Quantify the impact for your company

Introducing the use of online solutions for project management will undoubtedly be a positive change for your company. Although in the early days an extra effort will have to be made to learn to use the software, however, soon you will see that its simple and easy to use interface has much to contribute to your business.

You may have the feeling that it has increased your efficiency and productivity. However, until we quantify its results we cannot know exactly how much the new tool brings.

In the case of ITM Platform, the transition is simple. The platform is cloud based, offers a wide variety of features and is scalable so you do not pay for anything you don’t need.Why not give it to your project managers to test?

ITM platform free trial

Here are some recommended articles:

Organizations will run off remote jobs

Top tips to collaborate virtually

Top tips for communicating better in a virtual project world


Juan Delgado Moraleda

Blogger ITM Platform

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