Project Management OfficeStrategic Alignment

4 Types of PMOs That Deliver Value

Project management offices exist to solve problems, and since there is more than one type of business problem, there is more than one type of PMO. In an article for Gartner, Christy Pettey outlines the roughly four different types of PMOs that exist. Each assists the business in its own way:

  • The activist PMO
  • The delivery PMO
  • The compliance PMO
  • The centralized PMO

PMO Quartet

Let’s start with the activist PMO:

Popular in enterprises with distributed, business-centric project ownership, the activist PMO takes a broad view and enabling approach as opposed to a controlling approach. Typically, it has a view of incoming project demand, and supports decision makers by analyzing business cases for alignment and risk; that is, the PMO vets business cases and project proposals. This broad view provides a project portfolio dashboard of the status of all projects that it maintains, and oversight so that when projects in the dashboard go “red,” it might suggest or solicit remedies.

Gartner however believes that delivery PMOs are the most common. Delivery PMOs oversee and claim responsibility for the tactical execution of projects. The emphasis is on strong project managers and creating reliable, repeatable processes to apply toward future projects. Delivery PMOs deliver.

Compliance PMOs are for organizations where documentation is limited and methodologies are not concretely defined. These PMOs create stability by establishing standards for measuring project performance. From the chaos, they bring order.

And lastly, centralized PMOs are about creating a place where best practices can be pooled from across project support organizations in place within the business. In this way, centralized PMOs become very useful for getting new hires up to speed swiftly on how projects in the given business operate. It also reduces the risk of there being a few key people in the organization who have all the vital knowledge. The risk in that situation of course is that, when such people leave, their knowledge goes with them.

Where does your PMO fall in this story? It is possible that it is primarily one type but dabbles in others. You can view the original post here:

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