Project management, like any rapidly-evolving discipline, has taken on a variety of forms in recent decades. While it was once restricted to technical projects in fields like software development and engineering, project management methodology is now applied in dozens of industries, including marketing, logistics, scientific research, professional services and even creative design.
To support these new applications, project managers have developed a range of new methods, and a variety of ways to run a project management office (PMO). Today, many organizations find themselves with two distinct project management offices—one for their general business and one for the IT department that helps support the business.
At first glance, maintaining two project management offices may appear to be an inefficient duplication of resources. However, the arrangement actually benefits both the IT department and the business, because it allows each group to tailor its PMO staff and practices to meet its own unique set of challenges.
Project Management for Business
A business PMO is tasked with supporting multiple departments or business units, managing projects for everything from product development to marketing campaigns to human resources policy changes. Often, the PMO will manage only a company’s larger projects and initiatives, leaving smaller projects to be managed by the departments responsible for doing the work. Project timelines, processes and team composition are typically very diverse in a business PMO, so projects often require more time in the planning stages.
Given the tremendous variety of project types and deliverables, project managers in a business PMO are often “pure” project managers, or professionals who have a strong foundation of PM skills and are able to apply those skills even in areas where they may not have subject matter expertise.
Project Management for IT
A modern IT department typically deals with constant demands for new software, faster implementations and more efficient support. As these demands become more numerous and urgent, IT departments are expected to achieve their goals without large increases in headcount or resources.
To meet this challenge, an IT PMO must be flexible, highly organized and equipped with the best possible tools. In contrast to a business PMO, an IT PMO typically manages every project that falls under the department’s responsibility, no matter how small. An IT PMO also usually employs project managers who have at least some first-hand experience in software development or implementation. As software becomes critical to more and more business functions, IT project management offices often find themselves handle a larger volume of projects than the rest of an organization’s departments combined.
Sophisticated, easy-to-use project management software is essential for the success of an IT PMO. An IT project management tool like Planview AdaptiveWork can help IT project managers develop timelines, allocate resources and track progress across multiple projects, all without disrupting the department’s existing workflows or processes. When an IT PMO has the tools it needs for its own department, it is able to support the tools that are critical for the business as a whole.
If you’re an IT professional, learn more about Clarizen’s industry-leading solutions for project managers and IT professionals in every industry.