What exactly is a PMO?

 Although familiar in the English-speaking world, the idea of the project management office only appeared in France around 10 years ago. Its role has increased in importance as project management has become recognized as a distinct set of skills requiring training and experience. For setec, the PMO function has become strategic to its international development.

What role does the PMO play? The “setec touch”

Covering planning, cost control, documentation, risk management and more, the PMO team assists the project director by providing him or her with the necessary performance indicators for effective project management. These KPIs form the basis of the PMO function, which often involves highly specialized professionals, including financial and legal experts, depending on the size of the project. The size of teams can vary from half a dozen members to more than 50. The concept of a PMO can sometimes be ambiguous when its scope extends to production and technical management, covering similar ground to systems engineering, which also manages project complexity from a technical standpoint. Systems management involves technologies, demand management and configurations that sometimes overlap with project management. In these cases, the two functions work alongside each other to ensure continuity. setec’s approach to PMO is situated at the intersection of these two roles to offer a solid technical understanding of the objects involved.

“Since 2008, I have acted as project director for the French rail network. At the time, setec was developing civil engineering and operations management assignments, particularly for the French rail network. Very quickly, we were commissioned to manage projects involving PMO roles. The client delegates project implementation (scheduling, costs and deadlines) to us, and we manage all the various aspects (administration, studies, competitive bids, cost management, etc.), regularly drawing on the technical expertise of the Group’s companies. Our approach is based on strong contract management, with the help of internal legal experts.”
Frédéric Persat, international development director (setec organisation)