By JB Nartey · Jul 4, 2020
THE PMO picture


•War Room, project control centre, crisis–centre, home of Project Managers, PM Helpdesk.

•PMO is a functional unit/group made up of a semi-permanent group of PMO Manager, Admin. Asst, Project Coordinators etc

•The PMO can exist in any of the project organizational forms.

•The PMO only seeks to overcome the drawbacks/obstacles that the existing project organization structure is encountering.

•PMO is another way of solving some of the problems associated with one or another organizational form/structure for projects.

•It is now not uncommon to find several different types of PMOs existing at different levels of large firms with different, but sometimes overlapping, areas of operation


•The PMU in a municipalities established for MIG funded projects                The PMU in a Govt Dept. established for donor funded(World Bank/EU/DANIDA) projects


Consistent project administration when the firm is operating a number of differently organized projects.

•Resolve/bring to some order to the “PM Chaos” associated with any form of project org.structure


•Provide a centralised project administrative assistance and support to all the projects.

•Provides standard templates, methods, procedures/processes and best practices for the management of projects within the organisation

•Provide PM training to the several project managers.

•Handle some or all of the budgeting, scheduling, reporting, scope, compliance with corporate governance and other statutory regulations and risk management activities

•A project information repository for project documents and histories(lessons learnt) etc

•Provide Strategic Focus to the project portfolio

•Acts as a project portfolio evaluation and selection committee,

Setting project or program priorities across departments,

•Assists projects to acquire resources, and resolve issues.

•Provide Quality Assurance of Project Deliverables

•Champion org or enterprise-wide change initiatives



•This approach is particularly useful when the system/organisation operates many small projects with short lives in different departments.


•Facility maintenance projects

•It can also be used for the implementation of one enterprise-wide strategic initiative in the organisation.




•Portfolio Management Office

–(Projects, Programs & Operations )

–Portfolio Minded Strategic Focus

–Strong relationship with the executive/Executive Support

•Program Management Office

–Program Delivery Focus

–Several Interdependent Projects

Project Management Office

–Project Delivery Focus

–A single Project

•Enterprise-Wide Change Initiative Project/Program Management Office( EPMO)Enterprise-Wide Change Initiatives Implementation focus


Directive PMO(High Level of Project Control)

–Takes over total control of the projects through control of the project processes, resources and the project tasks & compliance to corporate governance & regulatory requirements 

•Enterprise-Wide PMO( EPMO)

•Program/Project PMO

•Departmental/Functional PMO

Controlling PMO( Moderate Level of Project Control)

–Project Process Control & Compliance

–Control of the PM processes,procedures,documentation & compliance to corporate governance & regulatory requirements 

•Supportive PMO( Low level of Project control)

–Only Control Admin and PM support to projects in a multi-project environment



•Supportive PMO( Low level of Project control)

•Controlling PMO( Moderate Level of Project Control) 

•Directive PMO(High Level of Project Control)



•The PMO must grow in maturity in terms of role, competences, capabilities, power, efficiency and service offering with the ever changing organizational business strategy and demands of project management.

•PMO has to change or evolve to remain relevant 

•Otherwise it becomes ineffective, inefficient,  irrelevant and must be disbanded


–PMO rendering services to other organizations implementing similar programs or portfolios for a fee.

–PMO as a profit center

–Digitization of the PMO


•Is the PMO delivering value to the org. in terms of ROI or profitability?

•Is the PMO adding value to the org.project management effort or Project Management Maturity in terms of project delivery efficiency

•Establish & Implement Performance Management Systems(PMS) with the right performance metrics/KPIs to measure and evaluate PMO performance



•Help deliver the org.strategic objectives; Strategic tool

•Gain techniques for working together and specialization in specific types of projects

•Helps to improve the PM Culture or Maturity of the Organisation

•Consistency in PM approaches,tools and templates

–Reports and records are standardized

•Collaboration & Team-Building

–Improve cross-functional collaboration amongst PMs

•Provide PM Knowledge Sharing amongst PMs and the rest of the organisation.

•Bridges Cultures/Language differences amongst project teams

•Provide cost savings and efficiency in terms of the implementation of enterprise wide change initiatives such as new softwares or ICT systems 

•Provide ready availability of support to Project Managers

•PMO can provide expert advise on various topics or help troubleshoot project problems

•PMO can arrange training in certain skills


•PMO roles/control/authority not clearly spelt out.

–PMO not well defined and well-aligned to the PM needs or org.strategy

–(Wrong type of PMO/Not Fit-for Purpose PMO)

•Non-performing and ineffective PMOs draining the org.resources

•PMO sometimes deprived in terms of Resource Capacity/Resource Control & Project Authority

–Responsibility without authority

•PMO under-utilised

•PMOs lack of growth

“ They either become part of the solution or  part of the problem(CHAOS)”


•A strong, well resourced and empowered Project Management Office in terms of right resources, resource capacity and project authority is crucial to making the project management effort a success.

•Solicit External Project Support in its implementation eg.DBSA Siyenza Manje Program/MISA

Project Champions or Senior managers with strong interest in the projects may use their political clout to help the PMO resolve priority issues or resource acquisition.

•Org Strategy must drive the PMO

•PMO must grow in terms of PM Maturity in tandem with the everchanging PM needs and the org.strategy

•Regular PMO reviews to identify weaknesses for correction.

WhatsApp the PM GURU on +1 317 629 3820 if you want to know more about this topic 

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