A project management office (PMO for short) is a central function or department in an organization, responsible for establishing and maintaining a framework for organizational project management (OPM for short). The project management office is focused on assuring projects, programs and portfolios are managed in a consistent manner and that they work towards the company’s goals.
In general, PMI’s PMBOK Guide identifies the key purpose of a PMO as supporting project managers, which can take very different forms – depending on how the PMO is actually run.
Management styles of a PMO
A PMO may be supportive only, with a low level of control in the organization, offering training, templates and forms. On the other hand, a PMO may be controlling with a moderate level of control, ensuring compliance with a company-wide project management standard and making sure project managers adhere to that standard methodology. Last but not least, a PMO may be directive, in which case it holds a high level of control and actually controls and manages projects.
Commonly offered PMO services
In practice, it’s very common to have at least the following services offered by a PMO:
- Provide a company-specific methodology for project management, supported by standard templates and forms and defined processes
- Coach and train project managers in project management
- Strengthen and facilitate know-how transfer and communication across all ongoing projects
- Manage project resources
- Archive project documentation
- Review project success and adherence to company’s project management standard