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PMO Types and Organizational Structure

20 December 2007

PMO Types and Organizational Structure

This section explores look at two issues: the relationship between PMO types and implementation of governance; and the structure of the PMOs in an organization in relation to implementation of governance.

Governance and PMO types

As noted above, it is rare for a PMO or Project Manager to implement governance initially. So, should a PMO implement governance? If so, when? These questions are best answered in relation to the four different types of PMOs.


A General PMO should not implement governance. A general PMO is created in a corporate culture that does not allow the


PMO to have a great deal of authority. Such a PMO cannot implement governance. Unless the organization goes through a major change, in fact, it is unlikely that the organization that would create a general PMO would ever be able to implement governance successfully.


A Supportive PMO can implement governance, but not initially. As described in detail above, the methodology, standards, and project management process must be thoroughly in place, supported, and accepted, first. Then the career path must be implemented and accepted. At this time, a Supportive PMO may have the maturity and authority to implement governance, and the organization may have the maturity to accept it and use it well.


A Controlling PMO can implement governance after appropriate preparation. Optimal control requires governance, as lack of governance is a gap in the control structure. Implementation of governance simplifies audit procedures and puts more teeth into audit reports, allowing the audit function to improve project results more rapidly. So, when the corporate culture allows it, authority is granted, and proper preparation is made, a Controlling PMO should implement governance.


In a Directive PMO, governance is an internal function. Directive PMOs have an easier time implementing governance, because the authority over job descriptions, promotion, and personnel actions already rests with the PMO itself. A


Directive PMO can move more directly towards implementing governance by meeting the minimum requirements and then following the recommended techniques above.

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