Project Management Office (PMO) and its Models – An Overview

Many organizations in spite of the increased number and complexity of projects implement projects that are not managed according to a formal project management methodology and instead apply ad-hoc processes even today that results in weak outcomes.

Seeking to solve this problem emerges a new structure called Project Management Office (PMO) in order to bring centralized coordination, strategic alignment, institutionalize project management practices, improve execution and reduce wasteful resources. The Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within an enterprise facilitate project success through standardizing projects, implementing best practice, mitigating project management risks, supporting effective project delivery. Effective and sustainable PMOs evidently are pivotal success factors and makes profound impact on the successful delivery of projects. This document gives an overview of various models and working mechanics of PMO, approach to designing and setting up a PMO, aligning and integrating within the organization.

Potential Goals of PMO

  • Better alignment of project activity and business strategy and investments.
  • Consistent adherence to a project management process and methodology.
  • Improved collaboration and knowledge and best-practice sharing.
  • Resource pool readiness, training and competency to meet evolving business needs.
  • Optimized resource utilization and capacity management.
  • Executive visibility to project, status, issues, risks, costs
Degree of Influence of PMO

There’s no one-size-fits-all PMO. They perform wide spectrum of activities based on degree of influence, organizational exposure or organization’s maturity in project management. The survey conducted in 2007 by Hobbs and Aubry, of 500 PMOs found considerable diversity and lack of consensus regarding the roles and terms that should be included in the structure of a PMO.

The descriptions of PMOs in the literature are often summarized in typologies comprising few models. There are more than 40 models in the literature. However, names and functions are common among multiple models. The most common typologies have three to five types, in which each type is a model of a PMO. The following three type model based on degree of control is often seen widely used by practitioners while designing their PMO.

The degree of control and influence that PMOs have on projects depend on the type of PMO structure within the enterprise; it can be:

  1. Supportive, with a consultative role
  2. Controlling, by requiring compliance
  3. Directive, by taking control and managing the projects

Degree of Influence of PMO

Enterprises based on the business need analysis and strategic goal of the client organization identifies and implement the required management structure.

In literature the above PMO model is in align with Englund, Graham & Dinsmore (2003) model.

Englund, Graham & Dinsmore (2003) [18] propose three PMO models.

The first, Project Support Office, provides internal consulting for project management activities, such as planning and scheduling, project management tools, and document management.

The second, Project Management Center of Excellence (PMCOE), includes functions aimed

more at assuring up-to-date methodologies and skills in project management, such as standardization of processes, identification of best practices, and training.

The third is Program Management Office, which promotes complete authority over the projects and responsibility for recruiting and developing project managers, project selection, and alignment of priorities with the business strategies.

It is also worthy to note that PMO evolves within the organization, indicative of the organization’s project management maturity. Along the competency continuum The PMO’s role

PMO Stages

PMO Implementation Roadmap

The overview and deliverables of the five phases of PMO implementation roadmap and their deliverables are outlined below with a greater brevity.

Phases of setting up PMO






1.Assessment and Strategy


Perform gap analysis to assess organizations current status of project management maturity.



Current State Assessment

PMO Strategy Proposal

Critical Success Factors (CSF)

2.Project Initiation

Setting up of a PMO will be formalized




PMO Mission, Vision and Statement

Business Case

PMO Charter

Roadmap milestones and Rollout Schedule

PMO resources

PMO services catalogue

3.PMO Development

Resources assigned, develop methodology, processes, tools and key artifacts.




Project Management Procedures

PMO Handbook

Project Governance Framework

Training Plan and Execution

4.Staged Implementation

Identifying and Launching Pilot Projects, Ensure Compliance

PMO Orientation

PMO Pilot Launch

PMO Metrics collection and status reporting

Lessons Learned Documentation

5.Continuous Improvement

Measuring PMO Effectiveness, implementing changes, overall capability assessment, develop long term plan

Project management Maturity Assessment

Monthly/quarterly PMO report

Aligning performance measures and Reward systems.

Creating a best fit PMO is only the first step but organizations often fail in making PMOs generate sustainable value.

Sustainable PMOs are resilient, future-ready to face new challenges, focus on value delivery agile and strategically aligned. Also, PMO for its effective operation, have to be equipped with comprehensive Management Information Systems (PMIS) that facilitate data collection, storage, access, analysis, and dissemination.

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