5 Major roles a Project Management Office plays within a company
The PMO provides guidance and introduces economies of repetitions in the execution of projects. Let's see some roles it plays.
Bilal Khan
13 December 2016

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A Project Management Office (also called PMO), is an office or department within an organization that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization. The Project Management Office provides guidance and introduces economies of repetitions in the execution of projects.

If you are a small operation, maybe you are doing well without as Project Management Office (PMO). But if your organization runs multiple, cross-functional projects at the same time, then it needs a PMO. A PMO plays many roles with in an organization and the depth of each role varies greatly for each organization. It depends on the size of the organization and the scope of projects it manages. In any case a successful PMO is a combination of people, processes and tools. Apart from just managing project portfolios, here are a few important roles it plays:

Strategic planning and governance

This is the most important function of a Project Management Office (PMO). They assist in the scoring of projects using predefined criteria, in the strategic selection of potential projects and their planning according to the business goals of the organization. PMOs advice senior management or C-level leaders to select candidate projects that best align with the strategic goals of the company, by providing a sound business case and the cost/benefit ratio.

With regards to project governance, PMOs set policies, regulations, functions, process, and procedures and responsibilities that define the establishment, management and control of projects, programs or portfolios.

Best practices and process

PMOs implement and consolidate best practices and process within the organization. They standardize the process across all departments and services. A PMO can implement a repeatable project delivery process so that organizations can readily manage and deliver projects. It provides consistent project management guidance, methods, systems, tools and metrics for consistent project outcomes all over the organization. Thus, maintaining consistency between project managers working for different projects and department.

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Common language, culture and mindset

A PMO helps disseminate a common project culture and mindset by informing, communicating and training employees about the different techniques, methodologies and best practices. It also helps develop a common project language by defining milestones, metrics and KPIs so that everyone is on the same wave length. Thus, the management of projects is harmonized and efficient all over the organization. In short, they act as champions of project management within the organization.

Resource Management

PMOs manage and allocate resources accurately across projects. It also manages priorities based on timelines, budgets, resource loads and what-if analysis information and accordingly provides the right resources at the right time. They also define roles and responsibilities.

PMOs train, mentor and coach employees in general and in particular project managers. They organize regular workshops and training programs regarding project management.

Creating and maintaining project artifacts, archives and tool sets

PMOs provide templates, tools and software to manage project efforts. They invest in tools for managing projects which pays off in reliable data, enabling early visibility into project performance for better decision-making.

PMOs also play an important role in institutional memory. Once the project completes, or cancels, they archive all the project documents created during the project into a document repository. This is very useful for future reference, especially for lessons learnt.