Staring at Venus late afternoon – from PMO to SMO

Staring at Venus late afternoon

Staring at Venus late afternoon

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


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One Response to “Staring at Venus late afternoon – from PMO to SMO”

  1. The SMO Defined: How It Is and Is Not like a PMO - PMO Journal Says:

    […] You can view the full post here: […]

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