Project Management Organizations (PMOs)

A Project Management Organization (PMO), also sometimes referred to as a Project Management Office, is usually established to provide project management support within an enterprise or organization.  The type of support and oversight of the project management processes and personnel will vary by organization. The types of support provided by a PMO can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Managing and controlling project resources
  • Assigning project managers to projects
  • Identifying and establishing best practices
  • Establishing project methodologies
  • Coaching, mentoring and training project managers, project support personnel and functional managers.
  • Setting policies, standards and procedures and monitoring compliance
  • Developing templates and other organizational process assets
  • Providing program and portfolio management support
  • Coordinating project, program and portfolio communications

There are generally three types of PMOs:

  • Supportive PMO – this type of PMO is usually established to provide administrative support to Project Managers. This type of PMO is usually “controlled” by the Project Managers.  This type of organization serves to support the needs of the project managers and usually have little or no authority over Project Managers.
  • Controlling PMO – this type of PMO is usually established to not only provide support to Project Managers but also to provide some “control” over the project management functions in an organization.  In order to successfully ensure consistency and compliance with project policies and procedures, the PMO usually has control and accountability over enterprise level policies, procedures and standards.  Typically Project Managers do not report directly to the PMO but must abide by standards established by the PMO.  Projects are subject to review and audit by the PMO.
  • Directive PMO – this type of PMO is established to provide total control over the Project Management functions in an enterprise or organization.  The degree of control is much higher than in a supportive or controlling PMO.  In this type of PMO, Project Managers typically “report to” the PMO.  The PMO has total accountability for the success of project management.

Eddie Merla, PMI-ACP, PMP

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