Multi-project Common Goal PMO


Multi-project Common Goal PMO allows you to manage multiple projects at the same time, each of which has its own goals and values but works together to achieve (higher level) shared goals and values. A good example of using it is the use of PMOs in the banking industry to solve the Millennium Bug problem at the end of the last century. A bank’s workflow often needs to be completed across systems. As long as a bank has a problem with the millennium bug, the bank may stop. Customers may choose other banks that do not have the Y2K problem to handle their business. If the bank cannot prove by the deadline that it is free from the Y2K bug, it will lose a lot of customers. At that moment, every system in every bank had a separate project to address the Y2K bug, approaching or exceeding 100 separate projects. Besides, the bank had established a PMO responsible for coordinating these projects, ensuring that each project achieved the goal of eradicating the system’s bug and all projects achieved the bank’s (higher) common goal of being free of the millennium bug within the time limit.

The advantage of a multi-project common-goal PMO is that it can deliver greater value and results than tools that manage projects individually. But managing a multi-project common-goal PMO often creates confusion that can be traced back to the following reasons:

  • Underestimate the complexity of multi-project common goal management, and not organize well in advance
  • Poor cross-functional communication
  • Lack of comprehensive planning
  • Unclear KPIs
  • Poor demand and resource management
  • Inconsistent stakeholder expectations


When you need different project teams to work together to achieve common goals, your entire plan, work progress and latest information should be put on a centralized, easy-to-access and easy-to-navigate platform updated in real-time, which includes organization and governance structure, policies and rules, project planning and execution, resources and skills, products and configuration items, suppliers and procurement, contracts and payments and service level agreements, etc. If you are using a form-filling garbage-to-garbage system, failure is almost certain. Because in a wide-ranging multi-project common goal PMO, not getting everyone on the same page is asking for trouble. Using a centralized, easy-to-access, easy-to-navigate PMO platform that updates information in real time is not just for convenience and time saving, but more importantly for orchestration and execution.

You can follow the steps to get the above benefits by using  PMO:

Create the right roles

Different PMOs vary in size, but some key roles must exist to ensure proper governance:

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is the key body in the governance structure and is responsible for project-related business issues that are critical to ensuring PMO outputs and achieving results. Members of the Steering Committee are usually the PMOs sponsoring executives.


PMO Manager

Project office managers develop standards for PMO and project management practices, provide administrative support in project planning, resource allocation, and communications and integrate project progress information to support project performance analysis.

Project Manager

The project manager or supervisor manages the project plan on a daily basis and defines the overall management process. He or she is responsible for the overall coordination and integration of the projects and operations to ultimately achieve the project goals.

Change Review Board

The Change Review Board (CRB) assists in evaluating and prioritizing changes and approving requested changes. The CRB helps ensure that changes are managed in a reasonable and predictable manner by enforcing change and release policies and procedures.

Business Analyst

Business analysts specialize in requirements capture, analysis, and documentation. He or she coordinates requirements scope across projects, evaluates change requests and performs quality assurance to validate project deliverables.

Development Engineer
The development engineer determines the goals of the project and conceptualizes, engineers (or reengineers) and tests the product.

Define and build a clear architecture

Architecture is a roadmap from the current state to the future state. It offers an outline showing how the planned project will provide the desired benefits. It should:

  • Define the project in the program
  • Ensure that the project brings benefits
  • Define advanced dependencies

Many PMOs lack proper alignment at the top, which inevitably leads to friction and competition among project teams. Establish a top-down approach using  PMO to define project architecture early, which will ensure effective coordination between stakeholders and the implementation team.

Manage stakeholder expectations

Stakeholders play a key role in the success of any PMO. After all, they are the ones who ultimately determine whether the project and the PMO succeed. Understanding the positions that stakeholders are likely to take and how they wield their power is a key precursor to gaining insight into needs and concerns and ensuring alignment.

Generally speaking, stakeholders want to see evidence that the benefits of the plan have been or will be realized. Unfortunately, too many project and PMO managers do not adequately communicate this information. However, you can use  PMO to ensure benefits are captured and communicated right from the start.


Addressing stakeholder needs and maintaining awareness of project boundary constraints requires dexterity and sensitivity. You have to seek a good balance between demands and expectations outside of management and finding support for organizational change and its consequences. Effective project management needs many skills, including:

  • Negotiation ability
  • Ability to manage cross-functional conflict
  • An appropriate balanced approach to handling multiple interests

Adopt comprehensive program planning

Due to the complexity of PMOs, PMOs and project managers must take a highly integrated planning approach that properly reflects deliverables, resources and external dependencies. For detailed program definition and execution planning, you need to use  PMO to ensure reliability and scalability:

  • Define and validate scope summaries from PMO to program
  • Identify and define all cross-project dependencies
  • Develop a comprehensive master plan

Use  PMO to draw up a comprehensive plan, starting with goals, which should be more detailed than business cases.  PMO’s Charter provides high-level PMO scope, requirements and constraints, which lay a basis for determining the scope of each constituent project. To avoid gaps and overlaps, PMO managers should define boundaries for each project as clearly as possible.


After that, the project manager or his/her team members must develop a work breakdown structure for each project to the minimum appropriate level of detail. Then the project schedule should be checked for cross-project interfaces. These interdependencies must be fully defined, matched, and linked to obtain a detailed, comprehensive overall project schedule.

Practice systemic risk management

Effective project risk management involves a coordinated, holistic approach. For each project in the PMO, the project manager should use  PMO to ensure to:

  • Assess risk at program and project level
  • Prioritize all assessed risks
  • Respond to the policy definition
  • Integrate all response strategies into WBS
  • Allocate risk reserves

Even if the project manager is focusing on the project level, he should not be afraid to conduct risk reviews on individual projects to ensure that he has been actively identifying and addressing risks. In fact, good risk management should be considered a key criterion for ongoing assessment. In addition, it is important that all risk identification and analysis be performed in groups to avoid individual bias.


Once a list of risks emerges, the project manager should prioritize the list to focus the development of response strategies on the most serious risks. Response strategies should then be incorporated into the overall plan, with proper tracking. Finally, the project team can decide how to address the risk with a risk reserve that should be included in the project budget.

Identify achievable benefits and requirements

Use  PMO to directly correlate the achievability of planned benefits with that of specified requirements. Requirements and benefits should be:

  • Realistic
  • Articulate
  • Understood by all stakeholders
  • Accepted and signed as feasible
  • Backed by a rigorous change management process

PMO managers should use  PMO to establish agreed revenue tracking metrics. Without an agreed-upon measurement system, disagreements are inevitable and the entire project suffers.


Business analyst leaders should use  PMO to manage requirements. This key role must ensure that the front end of the program and any subsequent projects are aligned with requirements capture and practices and processes.


Finally, PMO managers should use  PMO to assess revenue and demand impact to counter slow commitments and maintain control.

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