PMO Implementation In Indonesia

By. Chalid Tamimi, PMP & Viant Perdana, MCP, PMP

Originally PMO stands for Project Management Office. Lately, some consultants interpret PMO as Program Management Office or Portfolio Management Office, it depends on what function the PMO has.

The responsibilities of PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project (PMI®, PMBOK® Guide) The project supported or administrated by PMO may not be related, other than being managed together. Hence, the specific form, function and structure of PMO is dependent upon the needs of the organization that it supports.

As consultants, developing PM capability and establishing PMO (Project/Program/Portfolio Management Office) in Indonesia for almost 15 years has given us many good as well as interesting stories. The journey, in general, is quite rewarding and is worth all the tears and efforts that the team and we put in to it.

Nowadays we see growing awareness and acknowledgements that PMO is one of the answers that companies have been looking for all this time.

Basically the Y2K moment was the milestone whereas many companies, especially multinational ones, in Indonesia started embracing project management as part of their efforts in dealing with the Y2K problem. Since then the interest in developing PMO and in enhancing their capacity in taking the advantage of PMO has increased within many organizations.

How the PMO Began in Indonesia

Moreover, some international management consultants have also been promoting PMO development concept or Strategic Initiative Management Office (which has similar function to PMO) to their Indonesian corporate clients. Those conditions boost the PMO function into the spotlight.

To some extent, the word “PMO” has become a magic word among company executives in Indonesia for the last 10 years.

Facts Around PMO Implementation in Indonesia

We have been involved in the development of project management area in Indonesia for almost 15 years, as consultants and advisors for PMO teams from several companies and organizations in various businesses. The facts that we found along this journey are as follow:

1. Even when their executives said that they want to build “PMO” in their organizations, not all of them understand “what a PMO is all about”

The reasons are:

Some of them were only told to do so by their strategic management consultants
Some of their Board of Commissioners may have heard the beauty of PMO and asked them about it
The organizations were going to run in-house major projects so they need a dedicated coordination unit for them
Internal audit report has informed them that there were lacks of coordination in running their projects. In some cases no one could tell the appropriate internal status of those projects.
2. In most cases, PMO proposals that went underway were top-down ones. Some bottom-ups failed to get the buy-in from BOD.

3. In most cases, PMO’s key team members were promoted and transferred to other units before the PMO were well-established and not enough transition or regeneration period.

4. Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Tools have played significant and important role in convincing key stakeholders about the benefits of PMO.

5. Graphic report presentations have always given good impressions, and at the same time, conveying the appropriate message to all key stakeholders.

The challenges that we faced in developing PMO in Indonesia are the low level of project management understanding (and buy in) within the organization, development of PMO or even project management capacity are considered as additional burden and the project sponsors have no idea on how managing their projects, hidden agenda and lack of participation, politic differences and struggle of power, and in some nature the allergic to transparencies. Yes, PMO is all about transparency.

Despite all of those challenges, the lessons learned that we have gathered through our journey in engaging successful PMO implementations are:

1. Plan. Thoroughly. Carefully.

As simple as it may sound and as clear as it should be, some PMO projects didn’t come with this key aspect. Good plan requires good commitment. Plan that is written in Indonesian language is preferable.

2. Keep it Simple.

Start with simple processes and simple tools. Start with simple project reporting. Gradually bring the projects under PMO monitoring.

3. Communicate! Manage the expectation.

The former good project manager may become your PMO very opponents. Be aware of “what’s in it for me” principle. Modify internal reward system.

4. Show Benefits!! Quick wins.

PMO is an evolution journey BUT with numbers of quick wins. Executives, most of them, want this. All project visibility always impresses the Boss. Use it as the first quick win.

5. Do heavy marketing communication & diplomacy approach.

6. Technology plays big roles BUT without proper people and process it does not mean anything.

Our last and ultimate message in developing PMO is … keep on praying ?

About the Authors
Chalid Tamimi, PMP

He is currently the Principal Consultant and Managing Partner of DCOptima Consulting, Jakarta, Indonesia. He has been involved project management development in Indonesia for almost two decades as consultant and advisor for the Project/Program/Portfolio Management Office (PMO)

Chalid was PMI® Jakarta Chapter’s Board of Advisory and President of PMI® Jakarta Chapter. He was also an active member of Certification Verification team in the IAMPI (Ikatan Ahli Manajemen Proyek Indonesia).

Viant Perdana, MCP, PMP

He is currently the Technology Services and Partner of DCOptima Consulting, Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a seasoned project manager with PMP® certification and have been attributed the certification of Microsoft Certified Professional for Microsoft Project 2007 application.

Viant is a highly experienced consultant in implementing project (portfolio) management tool with his exceptional abilities especially in project management IT, information system development, information system architecture, and object oriented programming concept, programming language and database administration.

PMI, PMP, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

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