In a global business environment, there is increasing competition. Hence, dynamic businesses are striving to be more agile and organized. Companies are seeking to formalize and improve how they conduct their projects. In this context, the Project Management Office (PMO) is obviously a very important structure. PMO is the organizational unit responsible for the integrated conduct of an organization’s projects.
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It is accountable for providing products and services to the ongoing projects. Project office deployment contributes to the alignment of project objectives with the strategic aims of an organization and streamlines the conduct of projects and senior management. An interface is a system by means of which a user can communicate with a machine such as a computer. It includes all points of contact between a user and a machine. It is usually easy to understand and operate. The basic user interfaces are those including elements such as menus, keyboard, mouse, beeps and some other sounds produced by a computer or any device of this sort.
Both Project Management Office (PMO) and user interfaces are modern applications that businesses employ in their daily operations. There is a growing demand for companies to acquire knowledge on project management discipline as well as the formalization and standardization of processes that eventually result in the growth of required development parameters. The structures of most companies are bureaucratic and slow.
The latest facts show that the models fail to respond quickly to the constantly changing environment. Therefore, the traditional hierarchical structure should be replaced by a more robust project structure or other contemporary management structures that are capable of responding quickly to situations occurred inside and outside organizations (van der Linde & Steyn, 2016).
A project management office (PMO) can also be described as an organizational unit that centralizes and harmonizes project management at the workplace. A PMO ensures that organizational activities are executed in the most convenient possible way. The projects supported or administered by the PMO is to be related as being managed together (AbouRizk, 2010a). Some PMOs, however, do coordinate and manage related projects.
In some business units, such programs are classified and executed as a single unit depending on the preferred type of project management office to be used. The project management office is a set of design features that are in service of project managers fulfilling their duties. It allows routine project managers
to establish consistent and uniform practices of the functions performed. It can also serve as a central repository to align organizations (Müller, Glückler, & Aubry, 2013).
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The responsibilities and objectives of the project office management, as well as the services and products supplied by the same department, may vary from one organization to another. Therefore, it is very important to align the project management office goals with the strategic objectives of the organization. Different types of PMOs serve various roles. For instance, a project management office structure enables the centralization of information and conduct of projects by facilitating the alignment of project objectives with the organization’s goals as well as dissemination of information on these projects among senior management.
PMOs also build knowledge and skills to improve the capacity and quality of deliveries. The project office deployment enables greater efficiency in the planning and execution of projects through maintenance and control of databases containing information on the executed projects. PMOs also assist in estimating decisions concerning new projects and spreading information in various projects undertaken by organizations (van der Linde & Steyn, 2016).
PMOs are instrumental in collecting, analyzing and distributing information on the performance of projects. Collection and analysis of the organization’s projects in order to identify drawbacks and best solutions, seeking decisions to eliminate these problems are among the key goals of the project management office.
Detecting and improving project management processes that are not efficient in the organization’s projects. By having contact with various projects run by an organization, the project management office detects inefficiencies in processes and organizational project management methodology and eventually devises ways of their improvement. PMO enhances the training and development of project management skills. It maps and analyzes the skills and required knowledge present in projects and thus detects possible deficiencies. Implementation of support service in order to create knowledgeable users is a common function of different types of PMOs.
The creation of a project management office requires an awareness process and organizational acculturation. The latter must be planned and executed gradually. The following steps are necessary for the development and maturation of the project management office in an organization:
- Defining services to be provided by the project management office and obtaining the agreement of the project office manager and senior management of the company so that the project office’s goals are aligned with the strategic aims of the company.
- Defining the roles and responsibilities of project office staff members because they determine the number of support actions to be provided.
- Determining and announcing the start of the project office. The management team should have a plan to achieve success as soon as possible.
- Aligning the development of projects in order to continuously meet the business needs.
- Refining and developing project office staff members’ skills and roles as required and accepted by the top management to sustain an ongoing internal growth of customers.
- To ensure that the quality and efficiency of delivered products and services to internal clients are of the best quality possible.
Owing to the need for companies to become more efficient and competitive as well as plan and execute their projects in a more assertive and professional way, business organizations should develop robust project management offices at any given time of their operation. The implementation and evolving of projects in organizations are crucial undertakings. The latter plays the role of an integrated project control and assists in the implementation and dissemination of project management tools as well as the developing and controlling methodologies and standards for management, storage and distribution of information and knowledge gained in the process of projects, etc. This requires the deployment of project management office.
Types of PMO
Despite lack of standardization, and controversy in the classification of types of Project Management Office (PMO), a simpler classification is highly preferred. PMO is composed of three basic types which differ in the level of control and impact they have on the operations of a firm. It is crucial for management teams to find out which type of PMO should be implemented in order to attain positive results. The basic types of project management are elucidated below:
As the name suggests, supportive PMO offers supportive services in an organization (van der Linde & Steyn, 2016). Some areas that require input of this type of project management office include expertise, management models, best practices, capacity building, access to information on other projects and so on. This type of PMO is prevalent in organizations where projects have already been successfully executed, but a greater extent of control is not necessary at all. Moreover, if the goal is to have a repository of information about project management that can be used freely by a company’s respective managers, supportive PMO is by far the best option.
In cases where successful projects are completed on a regular basis, supportive PMO is highly recommended. In most instances, such projects are accomplished in a loosely controlled manner. Moreover, supportive PMO is also relevant when some form of clearinghouse is required as part of the objective.
There are organizations that require stringent management and control of activities which take place on a daily basis. Unless such activities are streamlined, the desired objectives can hardly be achieved. This type of project management office provides support just like the Supportive PMO (Kaleshovska, 2014). Therefore, it can be more helpful in project management.
This type of PMO goes beyond control. It tends to dominate the project by providing project management expertise and resources that effectively manage projects at hand. As companies develop their projects, professional project managers are allocated to these projects (van der Linde & Steyn, 2016). A high dose of professionalism should be injected in a project when directive PMO is adopted. The PMO also ensures a high level of consistency in the practice of management between different projects.
This alternative has proved functional in well-established firms that generally embrace and utilize matrix support in different departments. It is worthy to reiterate that not all the organizational cultures would be compatible with this type of project management office. Other aspects that may affect the type of project management office to be used include the size of the organization, the available expertise and nature of operations. The past records of a firm may also be used to select the most appropriate project management office to use.
Regardless of the type of PMO embraced by an organization, the objectives do not significantly vary. For instance, PMOs assist introducing effective and repeatable processes, providing support tools and improving project success levels within an organization.
Understanding the various basic types of PMOs can help managers in any business organizations to determine the best suitable type of PMO and the most effective way of creating it.
The main research objective of this paper is to elaborate on various types of interface. The User Interface is a key piece of software. It is the part which is visible to the users (Kaleshovska, 2014). It enables a way of communication between a user and a machine; with the help of interface we can control mechanisms in order to perform various tasks.
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Current interfaces are designed to provide human-machine interaction in the most friendly and convenient manner as possible. Thus, it should be easy to use and offer simple and consistent interaction sequences clearly showing the available options in every step of the interaction without confusing or leaving the user insecure. These functions should be distinct and easy to master so that the user can fix only the problem he or she wants to solve using the system.
The main aim is to make the interaction more natural, intuitive and less user-hostile (Periyasamy & Perkinian, 2011). Currently, software systems are not used only for data processing. They are seen as complex messages sent from designers to users. Users not only send messages to the application programs, but also receive and interpret messages from or through the application.
Software interfaces are a great vehicle of communication through texts, articles, ideas and advertisements. The latter are transmitted daily to various users located all over the globe. This communication may be made in several ways, namely, texts, images, sounds, color combinations among others. Regardless of form, it should be guaranteed that the information transmitted is not incomplete, ambiguous or unintelligible.
Since color is a key element in any communication process, it deserves special attention. It is a component with great influence on the daily activities of an
individual because it interferes with senses, emotions and intellect. It can therefore be used deliberately to achieve specific goals. An interface designer must make use of this power of color and properly use them as one of most powerful components (AbouRizk, 2010b).
Each and every computer user has found it difficult to understand, assimilate and use interfaces. We are often forced to use interfaces of poor quality because we have no other option. Such interfaces have poor navigation. On the other hand, there are user-friendly interfaces where an individual can literally stroll through the software without a slightest difficulty. Examples of good interfaces include Windows operating system, Microsoft Office programs, Google Chrome Internet browser among others. Understanding users, their behavior, their likes and disapprovals, is an important step of ensuring that the interface something users are going to find easy and comfortable to use.
When we consider a software-based system, the expression “Human Factors” assumes a number of different meanings. Humans perceive the world through a sensory system which is reasonably well understood. When a human – computer interface is considered, predominantly visual, tactile senses and hearing come into play (Periyasamy & Perkinian, 2011).
Types of interface
Generally, there are three main classes of interfaces
- A hardware interface at the level of devices is used to access, process and deliver data, i.e. the basest means of input and output. Examples include keyboard, mouse and display screen.
- A software interface is intended to provide information about the processes and control tools regarding what the user can see on the screen.
- A Software-Hardware interface which provides a bridge between machine and people and allows the machine to understand instructions. On the other hand, the user understands the binary code translated into readable information.
Its main functions are:
- Startup and shutdown.
- Manipulate control device functions.
- Capability to control and edit archives and directories.
- Application development tools.
- Communication processes with other systems.
- Provision of status information.
- Creation of data exchange between applications.
- Facilitated access to control functions.
Interfaces can also be classified depending on how they ad users interact. These are listed below:
- Alphanumeric interfaces (command interpreters) that only recognizes text.
- Graphical user interfaces (GUI) which allow a computer to communicate very fast and intuitively by plotting the measurement and control elements.
- Touch interfaces which graphically represent a “control panel” in a sensitive screen that allows users to interact with a device by means of their fingers.
By construction, interfaces can be classified as either hardware or software as explained below:
- Hardware interfaces: These are kits of control devices that enable users to exchange data with the machine either by entering instructions or reading them.
- Software Interfaces: These are programs which allow information to be displayed on a screen, which, in turn, gives a user a possibility to control a computer processing this data.
Interface is a term derived from the English word Interface ( “contact surface”). In computer science, this notion is used with reference to the physical and functional connection between two systems or devices.
The interface is a connection between two machines of any kind thus providing them with communication between various levels. It is possible to understand the interface as a space (the place where the interaction and exchange take place), a tool (an extension mode of the human body, such as the mouse for interacting with a computer), or a surface (the object which provides information about its texture, shape or color).
It is also known as user interface since it is the medium that allows a person to communicate with a machine. The interface in this case is composed of contact points between the user and machine. In addition to the example mentioned above, the screen display or keyboard are also interfaces of the same type (Periyasamy & Perkinian, 2011).
When interacting with a computer, it is possible to make the distinction between hardware interface (mouse, display, keyboard), the software interface (Windows, Linux) and hardware-software interface (that allows man to understand binary code and that the machine can read the human instruction).
The main objective of a user interface is to bridge the gap between human being and silicon chips using some sort of a device or system. The second major aim is to make sure that such communication can be developed in the easiest and most convenient possible for the user. However, the interfaces are not always intuitive, an instance of Interfaces Command Line (CLI) is a good example. The latter is found in some operating systems such as NOS routers, shell Unix, and DOS. These interfaces have been used since the advent of computers but are still preferred by some specialists because they have memorized commands and got accustomed to it.
It is also important to recognize the command line interfaces as the best means through which system administrators can use to accomplish complex tasks.
Attentive User Interface
This type of interface aims to meet the needs of users based on their deliberate abilities. The modern ubiquitous patterns can be swiftly avoided by the interface because it is capable of identifying individual needs of users. The everyday environment exposes individuals to a plethora of objects demanding their immediate attention. While all these objects may be useful in real life situations, some of them are of utmost importance.
In this case, the user’s attention is regarded as a scarce resource that must be handled with care. Therefore, a central interaction path in this case is the attention of users (Periyasamy & Perkinian, 2011). After this understanding overall amount and quality of effective communication methods can be developed. Foreground processing of vital data can also be conducted by a user through the process of turn-taking.
This type of interface narrows down to difference between the surrounding of users’ activities and foreground activities. Hence, it is possible for users to facilitate smooth interaction with objects.
Touch screen interface
In a touch screen interface, we can see what appears on the computer monitor or screen of any device. It is a technology that entails integration sensors into screens in order to grant user access to control objects he or she observes while looking upon the screen. Nowadays touch screens are manufactured using different technologies. The operating of touch screens is based on the use of sensors which detect any form of touch and transform it into a command. (Periyasamy & Perkinian, 2011).
The touch screen interface is gaining more popularity and replacing the old analogue keys which were present in all electronic devices a few years ago. Some of the devices using this technology include cell phones, video games gadgets, tablets, and bank ATMs among others. There are several different types of touch screens, but the main ones are resistive, capacitive, surface acoustic wave and those that use micro cameras instead of sensors (Yueqing, Nam, Shadden, & Johnson, 2011).
The resistive layer is separated from the conductive layer by spacers and an electrical current of low intensity passes through the two layers. When you tap the screen, the two layers respond and the sensors capture the change of electric field at that point. It immediately submits its coordinates to the computer using a specific program that translates and transforms the touch into a command.
In recap, it is evident that both project management office and user interfaces are vital in effective running of organizations and therefore cannot be ignored by any means. The various types of project management office fit different organizational needs. For example, a supportive project management office is highly recommended for all organizations so that the needs of clients can be catered for in a timely manner. In regards to user interfaces, it is up to management teams of organizations to understand how their daily operations are effected by certain interfaces and whether they really face the need for development in this field. For instance, the manner in which employees interact with machines, feedbacks and the expected feedbacks should be assessed regularly.
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