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Conducting a PMO Pilot Project

jason orloske pmo project management May 17, 2023
Conducting a PMO Pilot Project

The PMO Pilot Project. I LOVE pilot projects! It validates our intentions and strategies. We test out PMO best practices and gather lessons learned. The PMO matures more quickly. Totally worth it!

When it's time to establish and implement your PMO, conducting a pilot project should be part of the process. Here are some things to consider when running a PMO pilot project.

Document Lessons Learned Throughout. From start to finish, the purpose of this pilot project is to learn. Continually gather feedback and document lessons learned so changes can be made and efficiencies gained.

Goals and Success Criteria for the Pilot Established. What are we trying to accomplish here? Is this a new PMO and testing out all new processes and templates? Or, revamping processes and want to validate assumptions? Ensure the pilot's goals and success criteria are set because the next group will need to approve them.

Executive Sponsor/Governance Group On Board. These are the folks who approve the goals of the pilot and green-light it to happen. They ensure the key stakeholders are lined up and committed. Have them sign their names on the line that the pilot can take place and they'll assist any way possible.

Resource Management/Assignment. Before the project starts, test out the methods which roles will be identified and how people get assigned. If there are other resources (i.e. equipment & licenses), look at how those get allocated, also.

The Kickoff. I believe the kickoff meeting is extremely important. It's your opportunity to lay the foundation for the team of what the project will accomplish, its contribution to the organization, and each person's role in its success. Ensure your kickoff meeting is done well and gather feedback to make it better.

Execute the Project. Conduct the project utilizing the artifacts and communications as planned. Watch for any inefficiencies or bureaucracy that creates overhead. 

Gauge Stakeholder Sentiment Towards PMO Practices. This can be hard to gauge and requires the PMO leader to be a great listener and just as good at asking questions. How effective are the processes and templates? Is it easy to follow? Do they have legit feedback, or are they complaining? There's usually a fine line.

A PMO leader is the team can learn a lot from a pilot project. I recommend doing one for both a new and revamped PMO. The lessons learned will be valuable for future success.