Project management can be a tedious job especially if the personnel or department in charge is already loaded with tons of work. It may be hard to cope up with the schedule, time pressure, workload, and other factors. In line with this, the task of handling such tasks must be assigned to a specialized department known as Project Management Office. What is a Project Management Office? A Project Management Office is a unit or department functioning within a business, company, or agency that is charged with defining and maintaining project management standards within the company.
The main objective of this office is to achieve beneficial gains from setting uniform policies, processes, and methods in managing projects(Search CIO. com, n. d). The Project Management Office will provide direction, metrics connected with practices concerning project management and implementation. The principles, methods, and practices of managing a project are based from Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) or Project in Controlled Environment (PRINCE2). These models complies with the specifications related to ISO9000 as well as in government regulation specifications(Search CIO. om, n. d).
Essentially, the job of the Project Management Office is to perform related to a certain project and to work for the completion of the project. The PMO may from time to time update management regarding the status and problems of the project so that they can come up with decisions which are congruent to the goals and objectives of the firm(Search CIO. com, n. d). The Kinds of Project Management Office There are three varieties of project management offices that are suitable for organizations in various phases of developing a project.
Each of them have their own pros and cons. Here is a brief explanation of the different kinds of project management offices(Billows, 2006). The Weather Station With this kind of PMO, the person-in-charge of the project is aware of what is going on with the project but does not make any action to influence it. The project officer just disseminates information without bothering the flow of work(Billows, 2006). This kind of office is most suitable in organizations that have just started in project management.
The job of this kind of office is usually limited because the various line managers usually experience difficulties in incorporating various projects into their management duties(Billows, 2006). The Control Tower In contrast to the first variety, this kind of PMO provides the guidance that the project managers might need. Although they are still doing their tasks, the project managers are being instructed by the project officer. They are liable for any glitch that will happen to the project(Billows, 2006). The Squadron Commander
Just like in the Control Tower, the Squadron Commander provides guidance to the project managers. However, the SC closely supervises all the people handling the project. There might be instances of successes and shortcomings but the Squadron Commander is held resposible for the general performance of the department(Billows, 2006). The disadvantage of this kind of office is that the personnel who have the technical know how as well as the most credible managers are doing multiple tasks aside from their main job.
Aside from that, the job of allocating resources and prioritizing projects can go out of hand. Another problem that Squadron Commanders is that management may be hesitant in injecting company-wide standards related to project tracking and approval(Billows, 2006). History of Project Management Office The concept of modern project management can be traced to only a few decades back. During the 1960s, businesses and other firms discovered the advantages of organizing project tasks.
Most companies developed an understanding on how crucial it is for their staff to establish communication and collaboration while incorporating their jobs with several departments and professions, and in certain instances, with several industries(Microsoft Office Online, n. d). The Early Years During the later years of the 19th century, at a time when businesses were becoming complicated, the corporate world began to see the evolution of project handling from simple management principles. Wide-scale government initiatives became the foundation for project management processes and principles.
During the time that the United States was constructing the transcontinental railroad during the 1860s, business leaders were faced with the tough task of coordinating with workers who will engage in manual labor as well as in producing and processing of a large number of raw materials(Microsoft Office Online, n. d). Into The Twentieth Century Frederick Taylor started to made further studies of work. Using scientific reasoning, he proved that labor can be evaluated and enhanced by concentrating on its basic elements.
Taylor applied this view in various jobs found in steel mills, such as shoveling and lifting and transporting parts. At that time, the only method of increasing productivity is through hard work and extended working hours. Taylor believed that productivity can be improved through efficient work instead of exerting more effort and work extension(Microsoft Office Online, n. d). Henry Gantt, an associate of Taylor, extensively studied the sequence of operations in work. His research delved on navy ship manufacturing during World War I.
He developed the Gantt Charts, which comes with task bars and milestone markers, as a tool for outlining the order and extent of all tasks in a prcess. These illustrations proved to be a powerful aid for managers that there were no modifications for almost a century. In the early part of the 1990s, Microsoft Corporation introduced MS Project which included connector lines to the tasks bars, showing a more accurate relationship between the differen tasks. Over the years, Microsoft Office became an even more powerful tool(Microsoft Office Online, n. ).
His contribution merited Gantt with a patent from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In the years leading to the Second World War, new approaches to marketing, human relations, and industrial psychology, became vital components of project management(Microsoft Office Online, n. d). Middle 20th Century The Second World War necessitated the need for new organizational patterns. Complicated network illustrations, like PERT charts and critical path method were developed, providing managers with greater control over complicated projects.
As the demand for new management techniqes increased, these tools extended to various industries. General system theories were applied by businesses in their business dealings during the early part of the 1960s(Microsoft Office Online, n. d). New Trends In Project Management In the last decade, project management continued to develop. At present, there are two trends evolving namely bottom-up planning and top-down planning and reviewing(Microsoft Office Online, n. d).
Bottom-up planning, also called agile project management, involves basic project designs, shorter project chain, efficient cooperation between members of the team, solid involvement of team members in the decision process. Common methos used in this trend are Scrum, Unified Process, Extreme Programming, Crystal, to name just a few(Microsoft Office Online, n. d). In top-down planning and reviewing, the entire organization is involved in making decisions concerning the various projects of the organization(Microsoft Office Online, n. d).