A though provoking post from Rob on Service Management Office (SMO) prompted me to thinking about what is essential to establish a SMO, a professional office dedicated to “doing the right things and doing them right” in IT.
An SMO is…
- a function – dedicated part of the organization
- fully competent – acting and seen as source of expertise on Service Management
- an adviser – more than a policy maker
- an owner of knowledge – making sure the organization is educated and up to date on practices and tools
- measuring – defining, collecting and reporting on metrics for services. Also measuring underlying processes.
- managing stakeholders – top management, CIO, process and service owners
An SMO might be:
- a shared service – with a Project Management Office (PMO) the organization may have specialized PMOs covering projects only for part of the organization. I think that if we have an SMO supporting IT then it is not shared. It it supports Service beyond IT castle, then it is shared
- extending a PMO – with a mature Project Management Office in place, beyond maintaining Service Management disciplines, projects in this area and subcontracting parts of service can be supported by scaling existing people and resources
- a quality assurer – verifying and evaluating how service is being delivered. Sometimes there’s already a function for this
[Like Peter Drucker used to do when dealing with a new subject, it’s helpful defining what is NOT an SMO. He did not say it was easy :)]
An SMO is not:
- a PMO – sure can work with one. We have Service Management projects, but SMO is not meant for projects
- a transferable competence – outsourcing this competence makes top management and business alignment hard. In such a scenario then way not outsourcing IT altogether and maintain controlling capabilities on our side?
- a bunch of people under different organizational functions
- for all – a business case should ensure this additional structure brings more value than its costs (thinking on small organizations)
An SMO, like Venus chasing the Sun, can follow right behind a PMO. Or be a star on its own.
Project Management Office – Role, Function & Benefits , by Maria Erland
The Value of the Project Management Office, CA’s take on PMOs based upon a survey