What is a PMO? | Practicus Background -Wave
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A PMO is the team that sets the project management standards within an organisation. Traditionally, its goal was to achieve benefits from standardising documentation, assurance and reporting across project delivery. Yet the meaning of PMO is evolving. It has an important role today in ensuring the consistency of decision making, best practice delivery, managing risk and budgetary management. 

The PMO oversees the entire lifecycle of projects from initiation to close-out. It provides effective project oversight and control to minimise failures and improve the chance of overall success. The main types of PMO activity can include:

  • Centralised project support, for example, administration, logistics, scheduling, consistent reporting, risk management, configuration management, communications and facilitation
  • The 'Centre of Excellence', for example, guidance¬†on the methods, standards, processes and tools, internal delivery and standards assurance, education, coaching and mentoring of delivery staff and subject matter consultancy
  • Business leadership, for example, the development of portfolio management structures, tools, processes and governance, strategic decision making and CxO communication

What does PMO stand for?

The acronym PMO stands for Project Management Office, but sometimes organisations define PMO as Programme Management Office or Portfolio Management Office, depending on the level of insight your organisation's Board needs. The term Project Office Management is the discipline of working within the PMO.

What are the different PMO types?

The three most common PMO types are:

  • Portfolio Management Office: the centralised department at portfolio level ensures consistency in all change programmes across an organisation. This office can manage a wider variety of both related and unrelated projects to achieve maximum value within resource and budget constraints
  • Programme Management Office: this function sets the standard for related change projects across a programme of work, helping the programme achieve agreed objectives and emergent organisational benefits
  • Project Management Office: this smaller function normally provides guidance to local level projects within a predefined scope of work. The team utilises existing capabilities to achieve the benefits within agreed timescales and costs

What is the value of a PMO?

If your Project and Programme Management Office is seen as a bureaucratic burden, you may be missing a trick. When set up with the right structure and staff, a PMO acts as a hub for Continous Impprovement across your entire organisation.

The benefits of a PMO can be substantial, from improving time to deliver projects to giving senior stakeholders the information they need to prioritise and manage vital change initiatives. However, many organisations use inexperienced administration staff to resource the PMO meaning it can actually become a blocker of project progress.

By investing in suitably qualified PMO experts, it will begin to add far more tangible value across effective project delivery, both to the Board and to Project Managers delivering organisational change.

What does the ideal PMO look like?

Our guide explains, in practical terms, how to create a genuinely valuable PMO function that provides clarity over project performance, effectively supports strategic decisions and drives project excellence throughout your organisation.

For more information on how Practicus can help you to create a fully managed, effective PMO, visit our PMO as a Service page.