Project support office
|Project support office|
|Methods and techniques|
The project support office (PSO) is a separate part of the company's organizational structure aimed at supporting the project team and reducing the risk of failures during its implementation. The project support office is composed of experienced specialists in the field of project management, possessing high skills, competences and extensive knowledge in this field.
In the literature, many other terms are used interchangeably in relation to this link of the organization. It stands out therefore:
- project management office - is constructed on a permanent basis and covers all projects created by the company
- project office
- center for project management improvement
- program office - it is established for a limited time, supports smaller projects that make up one large project
- development management office
- a group of project management practitioners
- IT project support
Based on the PRINCE2 standard, it can be assumed that the project support office is a central pool of specialized resources to support the project in the form of, inter alia, administrative assistance, configuration management and, if possible, consultation on the use of the PRINCE2 methodology.
The reasons for the creation of project support offices
Among the most general and most important reasons for appointing PSO in an enterprise, you should provide:
- high probability of losing acquired knowledge gained during the implementation of a given project, caused by its non-permanent nature (structure of a temporary nature, time constraint)
- project team and project managers often do not have sufficient experience to implement a project with a given scope, so they need support
- appearance of inaccuracies and incoherence of methods used in the implementation of projects in a given enterprise, which results in discrepancies and problems during implementation as well as exposure to a greater risk of project failure
- rotation of people belonging to project teams that is not conducive to their learning and general development.
Features of the project support office
Preparation of effective methods and standards
This is the most important task for each PSO. The enterprise must define specific standards and methods of project implementation according to which they will be implemented. These include: development, monitoring and improvement of general project management standards, segregation of projects implemented in the company, preparation of WBS and project network diagram, risk determination, documentation and change management.
Assistance in the implementation of the project
This function concerns the provision of services to project teams, in particular to the project manager. The office then aims to support them in administrative terms. These services include: assistance in creating and changing the schedule as well as progress reports along with their archiving.
People who belong to such an office can help all interested persons at any time. Thanks to this, the project manager has access to specialists at any time during project implementation. PSO has the possibility of advising on the following issues: initiating new innovative project proposals, organizing meetings on planned projects, advising during project development, staff training.
Help in selecting people for the project team
PSO together with the HR department equipped with a system supporting human resources management, cooperate in the selection of people to work on the project. The task of the support office is to have information about people who can take part in the project, evaluate them and create opportunities for their development.
IT support for projects
The project support office has knowledge of the most modern and effective tools and programs that can significantly help in the implementation of projects. They obtain information from the market, test new software, search for the best offers from producers, prepare training in their scope for members of the project team and take care of the correct operation of programs.
Benefits of PSO activities
There are many benefits of work done by a project support office. The most frequently mentioned in the literature are:
- unification of standards, methods and project management procedures
- effective selection of appropriate resources needed to implement the project
- archiving information on implemented projects with the possibility of using them in future projects
- project administration support
- improvement of communication
- the ability to quickly get help and advice in a problematic situation
- Dai, C. X., & Wells, W. G. (2004). An exploration of project management office features and their relationship to project performance. International Journal of Project Management, 22(7), 523-532.
- Artto, K., Kulvik, I., Poskela, J., & Turkulainen, V. (2011). The integrative role of the project management office in the front end of innovation. International Journal of Project Management, 29(4), 408-421.
- Unger, B. N., Gemünden, H. G., & Aubry, M. (2012). The three roles of a project portfolio management office: Their impact on portfolio management execution and success. International Journal of Project Management, 30(5), 608-620.