This complete guide to the Project Management Office (PMO) explains its structure, roles & responsibilities, and other important aspects:
The Project Management Office (PMO) is the backbone of an organization as they are the ones who manage all the processes smoothly, create plans, and ensure that they are followed and achieved on time.
What You Will Learn:
What Is the Project Management Office (PMO)
The Project Management Office (PMO) is a team that has the responsibility to maintain benchmarks for Project Management. They must ensure that all processes, operations and quality of deliverables are managed efficiently.
PMO is required where the organization has a number of projects in running states. PMO helps streamline the process, helps in project estimation and planning, defines goals and objectives, and improves the quality of the project. The lack at any of the stages can lead to failure of the project, that’s why PMO plays an important role in the project’s success.
The organization’s management cannot track the day-to-day progress of the projects as they have other responsibilities to fulfil.
Project Managers handle the projects on a broader level. PMO ensures that all projects are running on track and as planned. They will ensure to deliver the projects on time and highlight the hurdles at the earliest to get them sorted on time. Most organizations opt for project management tools such as Gantt Charts, Pert Chart, etc. which makes it easy to track the progress of the project.
Project Management Office Structure
PMO works as a point of contact for all the projects. The below structure shows where the PMO falls in the organization’s hierarchy:
All stakeholders have their own expectations from the PMO, and it is the single point of contact for all. The stakeholders include Management, Project Manager, Team members, etc.
Roles and Responsibilities
PMO plays a very important role in the success of the project. Project kickoff to project delivery, PMO has many responsibilities to play.
A few of them are mentioned below:
- Creating a Project Structure
- Provide data and reports to the management
- Effective resource planning
- Creating Processes and Workflows
- Simplify communication and team collaboration
- Project-related training and knowledge sharing across the teams
#1) To create Project Structure
The project structure is defined by the PMO to ensure that
- Projects are progressing within the budget and timeline.
- Resource utilization is done efficiently.
- Risk assessment is done across the projects.
#2) To provide data and reports to the management
The PMO is working on centralizing all the information and providing the same to concerned stakeholders. PMO play’s a major role in the project’s success as they maintain data and reports for the following:
- Progress on the project.
- Milestones being achieved on time or not.
- Status of the deliverables.
- Progress on mitigation of the risks.
- Financial Data such as budget, marginal cost, actual cost.
#3) Effective Resource planning
Effective Resource planning is one of the very important aspects that the PMO team manages. It creates a resource plan and creates visibility of availability for all the stakeholders. They ensure resources are utilized efficiently and track all project and non-project related activities including leaves of the resource.
Resources do not have to sit idle in the future, it has to be taken care of by the PMO team.
#4) To create Processes and Workflows
The PMO has the responsibility to create processes and workflows along with the responsibility to streamline the same. Few of them include streamlining the resource allocation process, keeping the data updated for resources such as their skills, experience they have, etc. The most important of them is to highlight any issues which can cause disaster before it’s too late.
#5) Simplify communication and Team Collaboration
To simplify team communication and collaboration is one of the critical tasks to be handled by PMO. They need to ensure that all the teams across different locations are on the same page and the tasks are being done on time without any delays. They need to address all urgent and important issues on time and need to get the conflicts resolved at the earliest to avoid any delays.
#6) Knowledge Sharing
PMO ensures that knowledge is being shared across the teams in a project. They provide documentation, templates, and project plans to all the concerned team members to save time for the team members. All the information/documents are centrally placed for the ease of the team.
Project Management Office Functions
PMO performs the following functions for the projects and the companies:
- Governance i.e. The rules, processes, and workflows are defined by the PMO by which the company is directed.
- They ensure correct information is provided to all stakeholders so that the correct decision is made on time, i.e. they maintain transparency on the project.
- PMO creates a repository for templates, best practices, and lessons learned from the previous project so that they can be reused for new projects.
- PMO streamlines the processes and helps the teams to work efficiently and on time with quality. They provide support for the delivery of the project.
- The PMO manages all the artifacts and knowledge of the project.
Types of PMO
The three types are:
- Supporting PMO
- Controlling PMO
- Directive PMO
#1) Supporting PMO
The Supporting PMO team was created to support the Project Manager. They basically manage the Project management information system. Their responsibilities include providing the processes, best practices, access to information, templates, training, etc.
The key point is that the Supportive PMO team only supports them, they do not have control of the project completely. They do not get directly involved in the project.
#2) Controlling PMO
Controlling PMO ensures that the processes, tools, and standards are being followed in the projects. As the name suggests, the PMO team works with control but the level of control is moderate. The controlling PMO team continues to re-evaluate the portfolio and helps the team to achieve their milestones on time without any hurdles by modifying the methodologies and processes as required.
#3) Directive PMO
Directive PMO has full control over the projects. They provide the Project managers and resources to manage the projects. Projects are handled more professionally, and the Project managers have to report back to the directive PMO to maintain a high level of consistency in the project level work.
They have complete authority to make decisions and execute the initiatives for the betterment of the project. Directive PMO is suitable for big organizations.
Business Benefits of PMO
The PMO team will provide visibility of the project to all stakeholders. The project manager knows all the ins and outs of the project, where the bottlenecks are or the hurdles are, but they cannot provide all the artifacts and information related to the same. Providing visibility for the same comes in PMO roles.
They have all the information, and they provide the same in the portfolio so that all the stakeholders are on the same page and decisions can be made based on the information and artifacts provided. PMO centralizes all the documents of a project and also all the projects into one system, only to give better understanding and visibility from project and business points of view.
PMO provides complete visibility of resources being utilized, their skills, performance, leave status, and everything else.
#2) Delivery of Projects “On -time and within budget”
The PMO ensures that the project is completed on time and within the budget. They will keep track of the project and highlight if they observe any risks in the project.
#3) Improves consistency
As PMO maintains the standards and best practices for the projects, the team does not have to work on it, they just need to follow the guidelines provided by the PMO team, which increases the consistency of the projects.
#4) Centralized Knowledge
Another advantage is that they keep the new learnings, new tools, techniques, and processes all in one place which helps the other teams to have knowledge. If one of the team is facing some issues and has found a solution for the same, PMO puts the same in their centralized data, which other teams can use if in case they face a similar issue.
#5) Control over the Project
Directive PMO has complete control over the project, which leads the organizations to achieve the goals. The PMO sets complete control through processes, standards, and communication.
#6) Resource availability and allocation
PMO ensures resource availability and allocation to the project. They provide the best-skilled resources for the project. If a project requires a Project manager, the PMO team can provide a project manager as per the skills required in the project. They not only provide resources but also keep track of the utilization of resources.
Difference Between Project Management Office And Project Manager
The Project Manager role comes in when all significant planning such as cost, schedule, and scope for the project is set. He runs the project within the already defined parameters and works at the individual level.
PMO i.e., Project Management Office is a team of resources who are responsible for planning, support, processes, risk management, metrics, standards, the interdependency of the projects, etc. They ensure that all deadlines are achieved on time with all artifacts and processes being followed. PMO works at the organizational level.
Difference between PM and PMO:
PMO’s responsibility is to ensure that all the resources which are shared in multiple projects are being utilized efficiently, whereas PM’s responsibility is to handle the assigned resources to their projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) What is the role of a Project Management office?
Answer: The team has a responsibility to create standards for the projects and has to ensure that the set standards and processes are being followed by the project teams. The PMO team keeps track of the progress of the project and makes sure that all the processes go smoothly, and the project gets completed on time.
Q #2) Is PMO a good role?
Answer: If you have an interest in moving towards a management role, PMO is a good role to take up as it helps to develop project management skills that can be beneficial in the future.
Q #3) What are the three types of Project management offices?
Answer: There are three types of PMO:
- Supportive PMO
- Controlling PMO
- Directive PMO
Directive PMO has complete control over the project, whereas Controlling PMO has moderate control. Supportive PMOs have very low control over the project.
Q #4) What three things does a PMO do?
Answer: PMO has many roles and responsibilities. Let’s go through three of them:
- Setting standards and processes for the projects.
- Creating reports for the progress of the project.
- Managing resources.
Q #5) What are PMO skills?
Answer: PMO skills include understanding and knowledge of Project management. They need to have good management skills, strong communication, and vision to get the project completed on time and within budget.
The Project Management Office plays a vital role in the organization for the success of the project. They hold the most critical responsibilities from the initiation of the project to the closure of the project. The PMO team is always updated and has all the information, documentation, and reports to show the progress and issues in the project.
They ensure that all conflicts and issues are addressed on time and the project is delivered on time and within budget
Depending on the organization and requirements, the organization chooses PMO type as Supportive, Controlling, or Directive, which decides the PMO control on the project.