Office solutions for EPM (PMO Light)

EPM Tools need not be complex, you can do a lot with Microsoft Office and a bit of innovation

Microsoft Office tools

Microsoft Office tools, particularly those provided as part of Office 365 hosted on Azure, have been commonplace for years, so require no introduction.  The tools we suggest working with for a PMO primarily include Word, Excel, and MS Project, supplemented by PowerPoint and Visio for presentation.

What is PMO Light?

PMO Light is a collection of basic standalone Microsoft Office based tools and templates, designed to help an organisation establish a PMO and achieve a basic level of project, program, and portfolio management maturity.

It brings together years of practical experience into a number of artefacts, designed to be an 80% fit, which is a great starting point for customisation.

By standardising the terminology, the stage gates, the milestones and approach to planning/scheduling, and risk and cost management, PMO Light will provide significant benefit in a very short time (roughly two weeks from order to deployment).

Our people often use PMO Light deliverables when providing services to supplement client frameworks and standards.

PMO Light comprises:

  • An overview document.
  • A framework diagram: Showing the high-level process steps and, more importantly, the terminology for stages, decision gates, deliverables, and milestones.
  • Stage gate definition: Outlining when decisions will be made in terms of ‘approved to proceed’. They don’t necessarily mean ‘finished all the previous’.
  • A governance model: Defining who will make decisions and the roles/responsibilities of the various decision-making authorities.
  • KPI definition: Outlining what makes a project status green, amber, or red, both ‘overall’ and by component (e.g. cost status). Again, consistency to assist interpretation and visibility.
  • A standard template for ‘project status report’, typically produced monthly, enabling individual project status assessment as well as summary ‘roll-up’ reporting across the portfolio or individual programs.
  • A standard template for ‘project plan, supplemented by an Excel template for ‘controls’ (risk log, etc); a Microsoft Project Schedule template for the schedule (with all the framework diagram stages, tasks, and milestones pre-populated); and an Excel template for cost tracking. The value of the plan is the ‘thinking’ behind the plan. Templates are useful, they provide a structured approach to assist thinking.
  • Standard investment management templates, including a ‘project brief’ and ‘business case’ together with an underlying ‘NPV financial model’.
  • A portfolio summary tool: two versions; Excel and MS Project based.
  • ‘How to’ guides for those using MS Project for scheduling.
  • Lots of other standards documents, tools, and handy artefacts.

What is not included?

The most important part – the management of change. Users (project managers and senior executives) will need a blend of communication, information, support, and behavioural consequences if the benefits of a PMO and PM standards can be achieved.

Other Microsoft Office based solutions

See our Other tools page for more custom Office based solutions.

Other tools

Case studies

Further reading

White papers


Need help setting up your own PMO in the shortest time possible?

We have been successful in providing guidance and insights to PMOs using PMO Light for years. Contact Core Consulting Group for trusted, practical advice and assistance.

Contact us