PM Earth

Types of Project Management Offices

11 October 2007

PMO Types

A Project Management Office can be categorized as one of four types, corresponding to the four types of services: General, Supportive, Controlling, and Directive. To learn more about types of PMOs, read the seven topics shown in this diagram:

1. Why categorize PMOs?

2. General PMOs

3. Supportive PMOs

4. Controlling PMOs

5. Directive PMOs

6. Multiple PMOs

7. PMO Types and Maturity

Why categorize PMOs? Deciding how a PMO will be organized and what type of PMO it will be is beneficial at two points in time:

When creating the PMO Charter and planning the approach to execution

When creating a plan for PMO Improvement

At both these times, it is important to define how the PMO will serve the organization, and ensure that the approach the PMO is taking is viable and appropriate. This section provides the concepts necessary to ensure that the plan for the PMO will be effective.

General PMOs. A general PMO focuses on providing general services. This is most valuable when the PMO has little power in the organization.

Supportive PMOs. PMOs that focus on supportive services are most popular with their customers, especially project managers. This focus is an excellent place to start. However, a shift of type will be necessary if the PMO is going to improve over time.

Controlling PMOs. A controlling PMO focuses on reviews and audits to ensure that the project success rate is improving. The information learned from these activities drives changes to other PMO services and project management activities.

Directive PMO. A directive PMO directly manages projects. This works well in some organizations, but not well in others. Also, there can be conflicts between running a directive PMO and performing the controlling function of evaluation of projects.

Multiple PMOs. A very effective way of improving project management is to have one or more Supportive PMOs or Directive PMOs, and also an independent Controlling PMO.

PMO types and maturity. PMO improvement includes moving the organization up the project management software maturity scale. One approach to developing maturity is to evolve through a series of different PMO types over time.

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