Project Management Office

What is a world-class PMO?

In its most basic form a PMO (Project Management Office) is usually a reporting and accounting function, tracking time and cost across a portfolio of projects/programmes (for this purpose a programme can be defined as a complex delivery broken down into a number of interrelated projects). It also is often the administrative “home” of an organisation’s project managers, providing PM staff and expertise to other parts of the business as required. A world class PMO expands on these basic functions to provide additional value to the business. The GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) function sets direction and policy for an organisation in terms of managing business risk and ensuring that the business operates in accordance with ethical, environmental, accounting and other standards, some of which will be determined by the business itself, in other cases they will be prescribed by legislation, contract or other outside influences. A world class PMO ensures that these standards are applied, and compliance tracked, across the organisation’s project portfolio. Many large companies, and even small to medium sized ones, have well established supply chain relationships. A world class PMO ensures that all projects are aware of preferred suppliers (usually including advantageous terms), and that the procurement policies for both goods and labour are followed. The PMO also has an important liason function with the procurement side of the organisation to either initiate corrective action where the supply chain isn’t fulfilling obligations or to identify gaps in the supply chain and begin the process of identifying suppliers. The PMO also supplies/coordinates expertise from projects to participate in procurement activity. Standards are important to business:

  • standard processes make sure important steps such as quality or compliance checks aren’t missed,
  • standard reporting formats ensure that senior management and stakeholders can make meaningful comparisons of progress against scope, time, cost and quality
  • standard definitions of skill ensure that the right people are assigned or recruited to the right roles
  • A world class PMO has an important educational role to play in terms of making sure that everyone is aware of the standards defined within and organisation, and how to apply / comply with them.

This article scratches the surface: please join our discussion group at to add your thoughts and views.

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