Project Management

The 3 Different Types of Project Management Offices

Project management offices vary in control and influence. So which one is best for your company? A blog by John Reiling on Project Smart puts PMOs into three basic categories that are tailored to different organizational structures, though all three retain some common goals of project management.  

Supportive PMO

Reiling writes that the supportive PMO offers on-demand expertise, templates, best practices, and general access to relevant PM information. The best organization for a Supportive PMO is one in which projects need little oversight or where the primary goal for PM is to have something like an information “clearing house” available to employees.

Controlling PMO

A controlling PMO becomes necessary when activities, processes, procedures, and documents need to be under tight control. In this case, support is not just recommended, it is required. Such requirements might include the adoption of methodologies, templates, forms, and general standards of governance. A controlling PMO is required only when there is a strong case for doing so. And such a PMO should be backed by the consent of someone at the executive level.

Directive PMO

In this case, complete control of the project is relinquished to the PMO, which provides direct experience and resources to manage the project. This practice brings to the project a high degree of professionalism. Often suited to larger organizations that are used to outsourcing for support, it requires the right culture to be effective.

Common Objectives

Regardless of which PMO exists in a given setting, Reiling lists five objectives that can be generally applied across each type. The common objectives are to:

  1. Implement a common methodology.
  2. Standardize terminology.
  3. Introduce effective repeatable project management processes.
  4. Provide common supporting tools.
  5. Ultimately, the objective is to improve levels of project success within the organization.

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