When talking PMO, we need to remember that each PMO is uniquely different. 

In some organisations in today’s challenging business environment, the goal of the PMO is to guide project managers so they understand the strategic importance of decisions taken by the organisation and play an active role to improve performance and profits.

Whereas elsewhere, the goal of a PMO is simply to provide administrative support to a number of projects within a portfolio and not contribute to the investment and strategic planning of the company.

There are different schools of thought of what the PMO does. Although since there is no consensus, we must keep in mind that each PMO, like a PMO Manager is uniquely different.

According to a recent white paper published by Dr. Brian Hobbs of University of Quebec, “PMO is an integral part of an organisation’s project management structure and are linked to multiple activities at a single point of time. These PMO have low number of resources who are experts in their field and can manage multiple projects and are elite groups with limited decision making responsibilities”.

The PMO also has to implement regulations that fit within a company’s work culture to reduce inefficiency and lack of responsibility. The strategy and approach that a PMO manager takes in which to improve processes will vary. That’s because in some organisations, the PMO within an organisation takes direction from the top in the form of an ePMO (Enterprise Project Management Office). Whereas in other companies, the individual divisions / business units direct and manage projects at their complete discretion. Often only providing key reporting and financial metrics to the ePMO.

Which is it in your organisation? Which ways have you seen work best?

Having this structure, how do we ensure consistency throughout the organisation, if every division is managing their own ‘PMO’ in isolation? Or maybe allowing the divisions who own their budgets and resources to manage projects in their own way is more effective?

The role of the PMO regardless of how its structured, should be there to set up key processes and apply performance metrics to projects thereby enhancing the overall corporate performance.

Think of the PMO as the beating heart, it’s increasingly becoming a vital function of the business and increasingly becoming more responsible for managing and monitoring people, time, money and effort applied to projects. It’s constantly evolving and looking for ways to improve productivity and reduce costs.

The PMO in today’s environment is becoming more and more dynamic, taking on more responsibilities and helping to drive strategic outcomes whilst facing everyday business challenges.

The question is how will the PMO evolve further in the coming years?