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10 Best Practices for Running an Effective Project Management Office


Running an effective project management office is like being a student teacher. You will need to be cautious, determined and friendly to those in your team, and you need to be prepared for success and failure.

Following these 10 best practices is essential to successfully running a project management office.

1. Identify Opportunities for the Project Management Office to Excel

Your team members cannot pull off a “win” if they do not know what is considered a win. Identify key areas that need to be addressed, and focus on succeeding in these areas first.

2. Set up a Project Management Office in Advance of Starting a Project

The project management office is not a last-minute idea. It needs to be created before a project starts, and it should be thoroughly immersed in the planning and initiation of a project.

3. Get Long-Term Executive Buy-In to Run an Effective Project Management Office

Long-term support of executives is critical to managing scope and budget needs. Your project management office should be of value and assistance to executives in your company.

4. Find Ways to Motivate Your Team Throughout the Project

Your team will get tired, but you still need to get your project completed on time. Look for ways to motivate your team, such as hosting celebrations when milestones are met.

5. Identify Warning Signs of Problems Early

Every problem has warning signs, and you need to watch out for them, such as unnecessary delays, unexplained changes in the budgets of small activities and changes in the attitude of your team.

6. Communicate With Members of the Project Management Office Often

When you work together for an extensive time period, communication has a way of becoming hostile. However, you need to keep communication thorough and civil. This can be achieved by simply giving every team member an opportunity to voice their opinions and be heard.

7. Follow Standard Processes in Managing the Office

Standard processes should be used throughout the office. This keeps everyone on track.

8. Connect With Team Members on a Personal Level

Your team members have lives outside of work. Learn what interests your team, and spend time with your team in social contexts, such as having a weekly dinner at a restaurant.

9. Keep Expectations Realistic

Unrealistic expectations breed animosity and distrust. Make sure your expectations are achievable from the onset. This will help to prevent disappointment as well.

10. Document the Trials and Tribulations of the Office

Project management offices have a tendency to document problems thoroughly, but the positive aspect of things should also be included. Document the team’s successes and failures to ensure a comprehensive view of the team’s effectiveness.

A project management office requires extensive planning and management, and in many ways, it is a project in itself. However, you can help it run smoothly by following these best practices.

Key Things to Remember

  • The project management office should have a clear understanding of what should be accomplished first and foremost.
  • The office should not be created after a project begins.
  • Executives should be involved in the processes and activities of a project management office.
  • Use motivational tactics to keep your team engaged, and identify and address warning signs to prevent problems from arising.
  • The project management office is work-family, and communication is critical.
  • Standard processes should be primary means of doing work in the project management office.
  • Get to know your team members on a personal level, such as learning about their hobbies and interests.
  • Do not set unrealistic expectations.
  • Document the successes and failures in the office to help team members understand what does and does not work.

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