Hi there, if you're looking for a job in project management, one of the roles you may want to consider is that I a PMO.
In this article, I want to go through 6 types of PMO jobs available in the market - so that you can see if they are a fit for you.
A Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within a company that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization.
The role of PMO is to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. "Economies of repetition" basically means "reusability" in layman language. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance and metrics on the practice of project management and execution.
Let's now go through the PMO roles in a bit more detail.
The first PMO job we want to talk about is that of a PMO coordinator.
As a project coordinator to a PMO and cross-functional team, your role will be multi-fold. First, you will keep track of metrics about the project, e.g. time reporting by various team members, as well as due dates and project finance metrics.
In particular, how the project "actuals" are moving against what you've budgeted (I've written more about project financials here ***). The second aspect of a PMO coordinator is to maintain and update the project plan.
In larger projects, it is very difficult for the project manager to maintain the project plan. He or she usually passes this task over to the PMO coordinator so that he or she can focus on important stuff like influencing stakeholders, removing blockages to project progress, etc.
A PMO analyst is a person who is a bit like a PMO coordinator - but he or she focuses more on timely and accurate statistics.
This may involve the preparation of project presentations, charts and detailed Excel statistics under the guidance of manager.
Often, a PMO analyst lends statistical support to a PMO coordinator so that project metrics and status can always be readily available to the project manager.
The next type of PMO job role that tends to get filled up is that of a project manager.
Strictly speaking, when we speak of a PMO, we think of project management support, rather than the actual project management bit - talking to stakeholders, clarifying expectations, etc.
Another types of PMO job available is that of a senior project manager. Sometimes, in large company (e.g. a bank with presence in say 20 countries) - you may have senior project managers within the PMO.
That is, they take care of working across teams to create and manage project plans and deliverables. With their experience and previous expertise of running projects, they are well versed in the pitfalls that a project team may encounter.
Using these senior project managers to review and provide quality assurance to various projects makes a lot of sense. Within each project, you can still have junior project managers running each project.
An IT project manager is another type of PMO job. This type of role is required in the PMO to ensure a smooth transition of projects from launch to day-to-day usage.
A IT project manager also collaborates with the business users to maintain an ongoing understanding of business issues and needs. They are also required to coordinate with and direct third party vendors.
However, in some organizations there are actual project managers in the PMO, and they are accountable for ensuring that everyone on the team knows and executes his or her role. This PM will also be responsible for accomplishing project objectives and meeting various milestones.
In some PMO roles, there is a need for what is called a change control analyst. If you're familiar with projects, you'll know that business stakeholders often change their minds about what they want.
These changes have an impact on projects - in particular systems projects where extra time and effort need to be spent clarifying and meeting the new expectations.
A change control analyst takes care of these "change requests" from stakeholders, obtains the rationale for the cases and performs all day-to-day management with respect to the changes.
To give a real life example, I was once the PM for a large core banking project for a Malaysian bank. Halfway through the project, the users almost completely changed their minds on what they wanted out of the system.
Business rules and formulas that they had agreed to previously (and released to the software vendor to start coding) - were fundamentally changed. I struggled to keep these change requests in check and stay on top of them all.
In hindsight, I think it would have been tremendously helpful if I could have had a hange control analyst help me in tracking and controlling changes.
In a small project, you could get by with a spreadsheet and track them all on your own. But for large projects, you're better off with dedicated resources who can help you with the work.
I hope the above has given you better clarity into the 6 types of PMO jobs available.
If you're looking to break into project management, a PMO role is actually a good starting point because it helps you understand the "operational" aspects of running projects - monitoring and tracking project metrics and so forth.
You also get to work with and support project manager who will usually guide and mentor you on the ins and outs of project management
That's all I have for now. Until next time, have fun learning about project management!
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