5 Tips to Sell Your PMO

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image The rollout of the Project Management Office is best managed by approaching it as a project, even if the ultimate objective of the project is to develop the PMO business case, it would be more effective to approach feasibility study and business case development as a project. You can use these five tips to sell your PMO when a C-Level executive tells you “I just don’t see the value of spending all this money to establish a PMO in such a bad economy. All right, can you sell it to me?”

A project approach to PMO rollout will give you ample time to identify stakeholders, focusing on top management whose buy-in is very important for the PMO to be set up, and it will give you the opportunity to identify weaknesses and threats the organization may face if PMO is not in place.

The breadth of activities that the PMO can take on is very broad, you will need to identify goals and objectives of the PMO, you don’t necessarily have to do everything at the beginning, you can start by developing project management methodology & templates, providing guidance to project managers, ensuring consistency in executing projects, where you may not necessarily be responsible for projects delivery.

Here are some tips that can help you “sell” PMO to top management:
1- Examine lessons learned of previous stumbled projects and how it would have been more successful if PMO was existing.

2- Look into governance issues such as reporting formats, communication frequency, unstructured communication with top management, and the methodological discrepancies from one project to another.

3- Project initiation, demand management, and portfolio management areas are very good places to focus on. Most of organizations initiate projects based on hunch or gut feeling, while having a PMO should greatly help with how projects are getting initiated, selected, prioritized, executed, and ultimately closed.

4- Conduct Gap Analysis: have a 360 degree view at all the gaps, issues, deficiencies, double work, communication issues, failed projects, incapable project management individuals, poor planning, etc., you can use information gathering techniques in order to gather all the gaps, brainstorming, Delphi technique, and interviewing are great techniques to identify risks, issues, and gaps. once you select the gaps, you should start prioritizing them, and ultimately nail down the roles and responsibilities of the future PMO.

5- Use AIDA Sales Cycle: AIDA ( Attention, Interest, Decision/Desire, Action) is the most famous sales cycle used to sell a product, service, or even to plant and idea in the customer’s brain( I am obsessed with Inception! ). You can follow the same cycle while selling your PMO to board of directors. If you are approaching building the PMO business case as a project, you may phase the project execution stage using AIDA, the following activities can be followed ( Satisfaction is a process that some sales people like to follow which basically covers after sales phase ):

  1. Attention:
    – Get initial approval to the initiative
  2. Interest:
    – Generate interest by explaining relevant benefits
    – Do not exaggerate PMO capabilities
    – Benchmark with rivals whose PMO set up
    – Do your homework and gather all qualitative and quantitative information
    – Develop feasibility study
  3. Decision/Desire:
    – Develop Business Case
    – Decision to be made by decision makers whether to approve, defer, or reject the PMO initiative
  4. Action:
    – Prioritize and budget the project of PMO rollout
    – Start the rollout project
  5. Satisfaction:
    – Report PMO KPIs
    – Strive to practically prove the ROI of having the PMO


I would love to hear from if you have used some other tips to sell the PMO to your board of directors, Thank you.

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Comments (7)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cornelius Fichtner. Cornelius Fichtner said: 5 Tips to Sell Your PMO #PMOT […]

Good points! I agree specially with the comments about preparing data, doing the homework; many PMO starters fail specially at the beginning of implementing the PMO to show/sale a clear Return on the investment. One of the reasons is that we as consultants do not push enough clients to remember/share previous failures in projects that could justify a PMO
Good job!

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Very nice and thoughtful points, from what I saw also in a lot of companies, PMO (even just by concept) is a very powerful and straightforward solution to common management problems, where failures and lessons learned are really scattered and not well documented or reported, and as you said that’s where PMO can come to play.

I add my voice to yours :).

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jo Ann Sweeney, Kareem Shaker. Kareem Shaker said: Comment on 5 Tips to Sell Your PMO by Mohammed Ahmed Hossam: Very nice and thoughtful points, from what I … #pmot […]

Excellent capture of a difficult topic. As we all move through the Project, Program and Portfolio maturity model we will all be faced with the positioning, ROI and financial justification quandary. Thanks for your thoughts.

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Really good points you’ve made over here. Having gone through the pains of establishing a PMO, I can relate to a lot of what you have mentioned.

An observation that I would add here is the resistance that PMOs face from the technical experts/projects managers already working in the organization. We encountered this problem frequently where PMO was perceived as a governing body that would dictate the project managers on every aspect of their projects.

This resistance sometimes becomes a factor in the Executive Board’s decision of establishing a PMO.

Would be interested in having your views on this.

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Informative article.
Specially i liked the AIDA part.

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