PMOs are necessary for any organization who wants strategy to be translated into results. In this blog post from PMO Central, the initial question of “what do you want from your PMO” is explored. Namely, it suggests that you must ask yourself if you want the PMO to provide governance, focus on project delivery, or a mix of both.
PMOs whose focus is governance work on strategy, policy, and oversight, which determine what projects are most valuable, how to achieve success in those projects, and then oversees those projects in regards to risks and direction. Part of this, of course, can be direct involvement with project delivery:
When the PMO is more directly involved in project delivery, governance is often overseen by an executive board. An Execution PMO focuses on the “blocking and tackling” of project management: maintaining scope while managing the schedule, costs, risks, etc. It may also be involved in developing the general framework for reporting back to the oversight board. An Execution PMO will assign project managers (PM), who often have multiple responsibilities, though sometimes full-time PMs are part of the team to help ensure project success or develop and maintain the project delivery framework. An Execution PMO is not a lesser version than a Policy PMO, but is simply more involved with tactics rather than strategy.
PMOs that are responsible for both strategy and execution require more management and involvement—and this can cause people to shy away from building PMOs that do so. However, the return from these PMOs is enormous, as they can (if used correctly), result in stronger projects and better alignment throughout the business.