In the previous chapter we saw that decisions made in the context of one project can impact other projects in the portfolio in unforeseen and often detrimental ways, and this, coupled with a lack of resource slack, can eventually bring the projects-based organization to a halt. To address these problems, the establishment of a business function responsible for the coordination of all project work across the organization and for providing the infrastructure and competence necessary to manage multiple projects is proposed. We will call this function the project office, or PO.
The PO objective, in contrast with those of a single project, is to complete all projects to best achieve the goals of the organization . The PO's responsibilities include project portfolio management, strategic resource planning, interproject coordination, overall project oversight, cost estimation, contingency planning, quality assurance, external provisioning, project managers' professional development, process management, and tool support.
The PO is an operational function, not a policy-making one. The PO acts as an agent for senior management, providing advice, coordination, and oversight, and although accountable with respect to the execution of the project portfolio, it does not replace either management or the project sponsors with respect to the prioritization of projects and their ultimate disposition.
In this chapter, we will identify the PO's main outputs, its processes and interfaces, and the different competencies or roles necessary to execute them. In subsequent chapters we will address in more detail the process definition, methods, and tools necessary to deploy an effective PO.
This corresponds to the "managerial" type of project office introduced in Chapter 1.