Starting a PMO in your organization. What should happen first?

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Let's consider this scenario.... Your organization is creating a project management office for the first time. What should happen first? What's the first thing, in your opinion, that should be done to help ensure a solid PMO? Hire good PMs? Create a methodology? Put a director in place? I'm not really talking about funding...let's assume that is already in place. Please share your thoughts...

I'm going to reply first even though this is my own question/post. I think there are so many "firsts" that should probably happen, but to me the most important thing is to first get the right person - or PMO Director - in place. That person needs to help shape the PMO and all the process, policies, practices, methodologies and templates that go into the PMO infrastructure. Putting someone in place AFTER this is all done and forcing those things on them without them having any say can sometimes be a problem. Get the right person in place first...IMO.

Please share your thoughts! Thanks!
Senior Member
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Joined: Fri 09 Mar 2012 8:45 am

Hi Brad

I have been trying to get a PMO in place here for a while and the one thing that I have advised to happen first is to have an individual in place to head it up.

Although we do have someone who's supposed to oversee all projects, he is also PM for his own projects and he tends to focus only on these due to the amount of work involved.

So the next thing I would look at would be a clear structure with well defined roles and responsibilities.


New Member
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Presently, I am working in SABIC in the capacity of planning & control chief for all SABIC Riyadh projects and now regarding your query, foremost important thing according to my opinion, is before we hire any PM, it's better that we should already have done several kinds of small to mega projects and we must be highly experienced PM. Then to expand our business I can recommend to go for hiring more and more project managers 'as-and-when' required to tackle our projects.

Thanks 'n' regards.
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When starting a PMO it's often not chronological or sequential. It's about the right mix that works, somewhere between too little or too much in any given area (process, structure, etc.) can lead to difficult challenges and impediments.

An As-is assessment on where the organization is on PMO maturity is a definite place to start, along with some metrics/measuring in order to aid in scaling/ranking/prioritizing, even a best estimate is a good place to start.

Once this prep-as-is assessment is done, consider the following key factors:
  1. Culture and size of organization/matrix - resources may need to be shared with the PMO as dotted line reporting for flatter organization for transparency, open exchange of ideas and collaboration vs. top down heavy.
  2. PMO maturity:
    1. none
    2. some
    3. tried but failed/didn't work
    4. culture - acceptance, resistance level to the idea of a PMO
    5. need improvements, old ways not effective/not working
  3. Define and map out your vision, mission, goals and objectives based on the as-is assessments, culture and PMO maturity. Why should the PMO exist/purpose?
  4. Once you've put a PMO in place, continue to adjust it as needed. A PMO should evolve to fit the needs of the business. The PMBOK along with other frameworks/discipline - Waterfall, Scrum, Agile, Six Sigma, ITIL, etc. do not have to be implemented to the nth degree, if it works, then it works, but always look for opportunities for improvement and then also be able to say that something is good enough to make decisions and move efforts forward.
Annie Irizari, PMP
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