Continuous ImprovementPMO TrendsProject Management Office

How Is the PMO Changing?

Changes in life are pretty difficult to spot from day to day, yet changes over a longer scale can be blatant. And over time, PMOs have started to differentiate in terms of type and how they are contributing to their organizations. In a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, Lindsay Scott shares some information on how PMOs are diversifying.

Signs of Age

PMOs are appearing just about everywhere now, from charities to engineering firms. Any organization that understands the value of project management will probably see the value of a PMO sooner or later. In small organizations, Scott says a PMO could even comprise just one or two people providing project support. If it fits the need, it works.

There are four most common types of PMO currently seen. There are enterprise-wide PMOs, which align projects and programs with business strategy. Then there are department-level PMOs, which provide support within their prescribed area. Even smaller than those, there are temporary project or program-centric PMOs. And lastly, there are general centers of excellence, which recommend viable methodologies, standards, and tools to the organization. Enterprise-wide PMOs will probably be the ultimate goal for most organizations.

Scott shares this about the makeup of people working in PMOs:

The types of people working within a PMO have also changed over the years and continue to change too. Over ten years ago the emphasis was on supporting individual projects and programmes. Now with portfolio management, the Portfolio Office attracts a more experienced individual – often people who have progressed from Project and Programme Managers or other senior management roles within the business. More recently the newer attraction of Agile projects has also meant a subtle shift in some PMO practitioners who are now supporting these types of projects.

Furthermore, these people hunger for greater maturity in their PMOs, as well as basic acceptance by the business of the value that PMOs can bring. In other words, all the ingredients for more effective PMOs are here. If the business waters the plant, the plant is gonna grow.

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