202.0 Caveats and Assumptions

There are some caveats and assumptions that were made when creating PMOStep. These assumptions include:

Focus on Large Organizations

The PMOStep Framework describes how you would go about deploying project management in an organization. The general assumption is that your organization is large enough that this is not a trivial exercise. If your entire organization consists of a group of ten people, for instance, PMOStep contains way too much work. However, the larger your organization, the more structured, rigorous and consistent your project management approach needs to be. PMOStep assumes that you are implementing project management in a large organization with multiple departments or sites. If your organization is smaller or less complex, you may be able to use less of this framework or combine some activities to do multiple things as once.

Implementing a Project Management Coaching PMO

In section 210.1 PMO Types, four general types of PMO are described. These range from the simple PMO that focuses on organization-level consolidated reporting, up to the PMO Resource Center, where the project managers and teams report into the PMO. The general assumption for the PMOStep Project Management Office Framework is that your organization is implementing a Type III PMO - The PMO Coaching Center. This PMO gets at most of the sophistication of the PMO types - with the large exception that the project managers and teams do not report into the PMO. So, while this PMO has a lot of organizational power related to projects, it does not have the highest level of power that comes with being the functional organization for all projects and project managers.   

Management Soft Skills

TenStep, Inc. recognizes that part of the challenge of a PMO is working with other people within the PMO, as well as the day-to-day interactions with project managers and clients. However, the primary focus of PMOStep is in the area of managing processes, not managing people. There are many skills that are needed to work effectively with people, including listening, leadership, conflict resolution, etc. However, in general, the soft skills for managing a team and working with people are not within the scope of what PMOStep tries to address. 

Bias Toward PMOs in an IT Organization

The intent of PMOStep is to offer content that can be utilized in any business environment where projects are executed, including marketing, manufacturing, finance, etc. However, from a practical standpoint, much of the emphasis on PMOs is coming from the Information Technology (IT) sector. Because of that, it is likely that the reader will find references and examples that are IT focused. In many cases, these might be subconscious references. In general, individuals in any organization can utilize the content in PMOStep. 

References to Other Related TenStep Products

The PMOStep Project Management Office Framework is part of a family of products, including the TenStep® Project Management Process, LifecycleStep™ Project Lifecycle Process, and PortfolioStep™ Portfolio Management Framework. It is the intent of TenStep, Inc. that PMOStep can be utilized as a standalone process, regardless of the project management process being utilized. However, there are many areas where the content overlaps with other TenStep products. Rather than repeat all of the relevant information on PMOStep, you will see references to the other TenStep processes. 

Organization and Company Focus

The scope of a PMO depends on the initial definition of the organization and the level of the overall PMO sponsor. In many companies, for instance, the PMO is responsible for all projects in one division, but not projects that occur in the rest of the business units. In other companies, the PMO has a wider scope to include all projects in all divisions. Another option is that the PMO is responsible for only a specific set of departments within a division or business unit. Because of this variety in the level of scope and influence, PMOStep usually refers to a specific PMO as having "organization-wide" scope and influence. Each company can determine what the "organization-wide" definition is. It may just be one division – or instance all of IT or Finance. It may be just one department within a division. It could, in fact, represent the entire company. However, all of these spans of influence are referred to in PMOStep as the "organization."

PMO Session

There are many ways to gather the information for the Initiation, Planning and Deployment phases of PMOStep. In PMOStep, the assumption is that the technique is a session of interested stakeholders. The session should include any known members of the PMO, the PMO sponsor, a few representative project managers, and a few representative managers.

Low-Tech Templates

Most of the templates in PMOStep are simple MS Excel and Word documents. The templates are in this format so that you can easily see what information is on them and what the value of the information is. The templates do not have to be implemented in this format in your organization. First, if you use Excel, you will likely want to combine a number of related templates into multiple tabs in one spreadsheet. Second, if your organization has access to more sophisticated tools, you can implement the templates in that technology instead. For instance, many of the templates would be good candidates to place in MS ACCESS, Lotus Notes, HTML/web, etc. 

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