Project Management Office (PMO)

The Project Management Office (PMO) is an explicit department or unit of an organization, enterprise or business that defines and maintains standards of the project management.  This department governance the process and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques.

PMO plays different role in different organization, based on the complexity and organizational needs.   The degree of control and influence that PMO has on different project depends on what type of PMO structure within the company.  There are variety of PMO structures in a company such as:

  • Supportive:  Such PMOs plays consultative role in the company,  they do not play major roles in the projects, however, they facilitate projects by providing templates, best practices, etc.
  • Controlling: In this type of PMO, they provide guidelines to the projects which they have to adhere to.  This PMO ensures that projects are complying to the methodologies and framework using specific template, forms and tools.
  • Directive: Such PMO takes control of all the projects.   They directly manage all the projects in the company.

Why do Organizations have PMOs?

The cost of executing project and programs are huge and it is increasing day by day.  Managing changes successfully is becoming critical factor of the success of the project.   However, many organization still struggles to achieve success with majority of the project and programs.   One of the reason behind this is, every project in the organization has been executed differently based on the knowledge, skills of the project manager.   There are no standardization and commonality amongst the projects, they do not follow standard practices and there is no governing body who dictates how project should have been executed.   Overall, it appears organization have PMOs for one or more below reasons

  • To reduce risk of delivering project within time, cost and quality deliverables
  • To standardize project management frameworks and adherence to the framework
  • To make more efficient use of project resources
  • To increase success rate of project/programs in achieving organizational objectives

Functions of PMO

PMO captures data from various projects and evaluates how strategic objectives are being met.   Depending on the type of a PMO within the organization, a PMO may act as a internal stakeholder and a key decision maker throughout the life cycle of the project.  In addition, the PMO may be involved in the selection, management and deployment of shared or dedicated project resources.

Major functions of a PMO which may include

  • Managing shared/dedicated resources across all projects
  • Identify, develop and implement project management standards and best practices, and ensures these standards and best practices are followed.
  • Developing and managing project policies, procedures, templates and other shared documentations
  • coordinating communication across projects
  • Reporting to governance group on project performance and resource utilization

So what difference do PMOs make?

Frankly speaking, there is no correlation between having a PMO and success of the project in terms of meeting time, cost and quality.  However,  having a PMO increases the adoption of standard project management practices and policies.  PMO contributes to success of the project with they involved in the project activities. In this way the PMO plays a role in project governance and influences demand side as well as supply side activities by enabling the organisation to learn from its experiences and develop its “recipe for success”, in project selection and delivery. In the less successful organizations the PMOs are rarely involved in the activities and so make a more limited contribution.


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