PMO in practice

A lot of our consultants fulfill the role of Project Management Officer (PMO) on a project, program of portfolio level. Our Focus group PMO provides the consultants with the right knowledge and expertise so they can execute their role successfully.

Zestgroup has been active in the PMO-workfield ever since our start in 2003. “The range of duties of a Zestgroup PMO-er is extensive,” says Marlou Formijn, business consultant at Zestgroup and member of the Focus group PMO. “The consultant supports a project, program or portfolio manager with the performance of tasks in the areas of status reporting, resource management, financial management, contract and supplier management and risk management”

To be able to perform such a task properly – often within a complex environment – specific knowledge and skills are required. Especially for young consultants who enter through the traineeship program there is a need to acquire these skills.

Focus group PMO

And that is where the Focus group PMO comes in. Knowledge development is the main focus within the group, on the one hand to share the expertise aimed at assignments with a PMO component, on the other hand to “avoid having to reinvent the wheel”, as business consultant and Focus group leader Jeroen van Hunsel explains: “We learn from each other’s experiences and share solutions.”

In addition to discussing assignment issues and the “lessons learned”, the Focus group creates “use cases and best practices” regarding definitions, task lists, tooling and templates. “We think this will bring the role of Project Management Officer to a higher level, both within Zestgroup and within the customers’ organization itself”, says Van Hunsel.

Four project phases

The material for the Focus group is developed for the four project phases in which PMO’s operate.  For example, this allows consultants involved in the start-up phase of a program / project to use a PMO maturity model.

“This gives us insights into the PMO process, and the level at which it is set up. Then we can determine how to bridge the gap between the current and desired level”, Formijn explains. Van Hunsel adds: “We always keep the implementation approach in mind, like Agile or SAFe.”

In the implementation phase, the Focus group offers templates for – among other things – reports, implementation plans, stakeholder mapping, communication and budgeting. All in all, the Zest consultants’ toolkit offers over 20 such best practices.

The Focus group also takes care of the necessary infrastructure to provide support. And if a consultant needs more expertise or wants to exchange ideas? “They can contact a senior expert via the Focus group,” says managing director John Starrenburg, who is responsible for Business Development within Zestgroup. Or with one of the trainers of the Zest Academy – the internal training branch of Zestgroup.

Zest Academy provides the certified knowledge that the consultants need and offers training and tailor-made programs for Zestgroup customers. Examples of training are PRINCE2®AgilePM®, Scrum Product Owner, Stakeholder Engagement, SAFe™, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

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