What is a hybrid PMO?

First of all we have to say that creating and managing a PMO is not a simple thing, nor something that we can do in a couple of weeks.

An appropriate strategy must be defined for the organization, the 4 main steps or phases would be:

  1. Situation analysis: In this first phase we will want to know some key aspects such as:
    1. The maturity level in the company’s Project Management
    2. The type of organization (functional, matrix, or projected)
    3. The involvement/interest of stakeholders in the project
    4. Type of PMO we want to create (support, control, or policy)
  2. Design and Requiring Phase: 
    1. Define PMO areas of responsibility in detail
    2. Methods and processes to implement
    3. Tools and resources needed to do so
  3. Implementation of the PMO
    1. We will put plans into action, implementing processes and systems
    2.  Training, marketing and communication actions in relation to the PMO and its functions within the organization
    3. Change management will be an important element in this phase, success or failure will depend on whether the organization understands the value of the PMO and receives support from key stakeholders.
  4. Operations
    1. Keeping the PMO operational and functional
    2. Coaching/Mentorship to project managers to effectively collaborate with the PMO
    3. Monitoring and adaptation of the PMO’s functions, measuring its maturity and based on the business needs of the organization

As you know, there is a boom with the theme of agile practices. While it is true that agility can often bring a lot of value and more efficient management, it does not always have a place, whether it is the culture of the organization, customer requirements, the level of risk/criticality or the type of project.

The need to have a PMO in your organization is clear, even at its lowest level (not control, support only), to facilitate a homogeneous and structured framework in the organization.

There is nothing more chaotic than an organization where it is not documented, management tools are not homogenized, not properly reported or communicated, etc.

In this a PMO can help us and a lot. Considering that some of our projects may be managed following a more traditional or planned (waterfall) approach and others may be managed with agile reference frameworks like Scrum, it is interesting that our PMO is prepared.

From this arises the need for a Hybrid, flexible, multidisciplinary PMO, which, like the image of the article, behaves like a well-equipped Swiss knife with different options based on the needs of the project/organization.

A Hybrid PMO has to be able to provide support to both traditional projects and agile projects and be a support tool for project managers.

A very common mistake is to create a “Police” PMO that in many more cases help what it does is put in place impediments and exhaustive controls, slowing down and hindering the progress of projects.

This is a mistake, especially in agile environments, where I have come to see traditional PMOs managers requesting Gantts and exact delivery dates to development teams, without understanding the environment or work approaches.

Many confuse a PMO with an administrative or control department, and it’s much more than that.

It is a key part within the organization, which has to ensure the objectives of projects, programs and portfolios.

With all this, it’s time to take a walk, and assess whether it makes sense in your organization to create a project management office and if the answer is positive, don’t hesitate and get going.

What is a hybrid PMO?
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