10 Project management tools for the PMO office
Scroll down for a list of PMO tools
Click for a cloud-based project management video
By now, you probably know that Standard Time® has a pretty good timesheet… but did you know that there are also at least ten tools for the PMO Office?
We’re referring to the Project Management Office (PMO) in larger organizations.
The project management office in larger organizations is responsible for setting up new projects and tasks, assigning resources, monitoring those projects, and then reporting back to the executive offices. They usually do not perform the actual work on projects, but they are intimately familiar with the resources on them. They know their employee skills and performance characteristics and speak regularly with the project managers and line managers in the groups that actually perform the work.
Think of the PMO office as the controllers of all corporate strategic projects.
As stated earlier, this is not just a timesheet product. There are also at least ten tools that will appeal to the PMO office. They are described in the video and below.
Tool # 1: The Project Task View
The project task view shows all projects in the system with a hierarchical list of tasks below each one. This lets you organize tasks into subprojects, assign tasks to resources, set percent warnings, mark out project milestones, and monitor progress. If anything goes wrong with the project you will likely see it here first. Consider this a diagnostic tool for monitor the health and status of ongoing projects. While employees are entering hours into the timesheet, you will see up-to-the-minute status of that progress.
Each task has an estimated duration which you can compare with actual timesheet hours. Employees can be warned when they approach the expected hours for each task, and can even be locked out when exceeding them. This prevents camping out on familiar tasks, and keeps the project moving forward.
There is a Gantt chart, a % status chart, and dozens of fields that can be added to the view. Project managers have all the tools they need to monitor ongoing projects.
Tool # 2: Project Resource Allocation
When tasks are assigned to employees, you would like to see if they are over-scheduled, under-scheduled, or just about right for the normal weekly workload. That is called resource allocation. In other words, how many hours each resource is scheduled to work in the coming weeks. The PMO office checks each resource on a regular basis to make sure there are sufficient hours to keep employees working.
A chart lets you see total allocated hours by resource or skill. You can view the hours by project, or a whole folder of projects, or by project portfolio. This is particularly helpful when searching for resources by skill. Find resources with a particular skill that are under-allocated and assign them to your project.
Tool # 3: Project Revenue Chart
A bar chart shows the projected revenue out in to the future. View this by project, or a folder of projects, or by project portfolio. You can also view by month or quarter. If you see a short bar in the coming months, you can alert the executive staff to help find more work to fill the gap.
Tool # 4: Microsoft Project Integration (MPP Files)
You can bring down Microsoft Project MPP files into the project tasks view. Those tasks will be displayed in their full hierarchy where you can monitor progress as employees enter timesheet hours against them. As employees enter timesheet hours, you can send those hours back to MSP in the form of ‘Actual Work’. Your MPP file will reflect the work performed.
Tool # 5: Project History (Burn Down Chart)
Normally, you want to see a nice burn down chart predicting the eventual completion of your project. A line chart shows this daily progress, with its ups and downs, but normally progressing downward to the end. But if your project experiences scope changes that negatively affect your projected schedule, you’d like to know that, right? This burn down chart shows this in all its detail.
Tool # 6: The Daily Scrum
In the Daily Scrum, employees stand up in front of their peers and report what they did since the last ‘Stand-up’ meeting, and then tell what they intend to do for the next stand-up, and finally list any impediments to completion. This is normally a two-minute daily occurrence where the entire meeting lasts about fifteen minutes. Only members who are actually performing the work may attend. But those same employees can fill in a daily scrum sheet with that status, which is available for the PMO office and executives to view. Granted, this is micro-level detail that most high-level managers will find tedious, but it does serve as a nice daily project status. Watch the video.
Tool # 7: Option Year Funding Contract Management
Full option year funding support is included in the product. This means you can enter your option year contracts and MOD’s into the system. The results are some great rollups at the contract mod level, option year contract level, and finally at the project level. You’ll see rollups for hours funded, used, and remaining, then rollups for labor funded, used, and remaining. You’ll also see ODC rollups to all those levels. This is another “project at a glance” tool that is used extensively by the PMO office to track progress of government contracts. Watch the video.
Tool # 8: Utilization and Rates Report
In addition the project resource allocation chart, there’s another way to know that employees are properly scheduled for project work. It’s the utilization and rates report. Such a report shows the scheduled hours over a given date range and the number of hours worked by each employee. This results in a percentage of utilization. Because you know the total number of hours and billable revenue for that date range, you can get the ‘effective billing rate’ from it. That’s the rate you are actually earning when factoring in all the downtime and non-billable hours. See the video here.
Tool # 9: Daily Schedule Assignment
When employees are assigned to projects, you can assign them by a percentage of their normal daily schedule. For instance, 10% for admin projects and 90% for corporate projects. These assignments are used in the resource allocation chart to predict scheduled hours.
Tool # 10: Approve Individual Projects
Project managers can approve hours for individual employees on individual projects. Once these approvals have been done, the line managers can factor this into their own timesheet approvals. The approvals will then go up to higher level managers and finally to the executive staff. All this oversight contributes to the overall health of corporate projects.
The ten tools you see in this video are not all there is. Look in the Tools and View menus for additional tools that may appeal to your PMO office. Of course, you can use these tools in smaller organizations without a formal office. Project managers and line managers will find them equally helpful as they monitor the health of ongoing projects. Approving Timesheets.
And Even More Tools
It turns out, there are a lot more PM tools for managers. Have you seen project triangles, project analytics, and project status colors. This is more than a timesheet!
Good luck with the tools!
Also see: Video: Project Resource Allocation, Video: Project Management Features In Timesheet, Video: Cloud-based Project Management and Task Management, Video: Project Portfolio Management, Video: How To Choose a Project Management Tool, Video: 8 Dirty Secrets of Project Tracking