The Project Management Office (PMO) allows the coordination of projects under its jurisdiction. In this article we explain what its functions are and what advantages it brings to the organization.
Table of contents
What is a PMO
The Project Management Office is a unit of the organization that centralizes and coordinates the management of projects in its domains. That is, the PMO will supervise the management of the projects and programmes.
For project managers this is their home within the organisation. In this office the project managers will find support and confidence. But this must be two-way, the PMO supports everyone and it must be supported by everyone.
For an organization the main benefits of having a PMO are: a more efficient and shared use of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques. This office will give a homogeneous character to all the projects. It also allows to set standards that must be followed by all the project managers of the organization.
Types of PMO according to their influence
The responsibilities of a PMO are not always the same. Each organization decides what level of control and influence it should have, so there are different types of PMOs.
In the PMBOK guide for example, three types of PMO are defined: Supportive, Controlling and Directive. As the name suggests, they range from those who simply have a consultative role to those who exercise a real leadership role that takes control of each project.
The functions of a Project Management Office
The functions of the Project Management Office contribute to the generation of good work habits in the organization. The usual functions of a PMO would be the following:
- Manage project resources wisely and efficiently. It is one of its main functions due to its great importance and impact on the costs of the associated projects. Their good performance lowers costs and reduces conflicts.
- Improve the organization’s processes. By establishing protocols for action, the PMO affects both operational and management processes. That is, both those who contribute to the generation of deliverables and those who affect the operation of the projects themselves.
- Monitor and control that the processes are running correctly. By standardizing project processes, this task is easier and very useful.
- Share lessons learned. The PMO is the funnel where they reverse the lessons learned from all the projects they control. For the organization it will be a source of wisdom in project management.
- Improve communication and relationships. Since the PMO is the big brother that monitors and controls the projects, it is in a position to see how the projects can support each other. It will also be able to provide information on all projects.
- Control changes. This depends on the individual organization and the functions given to the PMO. But in many cases the PMO itself is part of the project change control board.
As we can see, the functions performed by these offices, with their different types and characteristics, provide value to companies. It is a very useful structure that guarantees the supervision of each of its projects.