Ever wonder whether a project management office would have an impact on the success of your IT projects? Discover the different types of PMOs and how they can support you.
Project management offices are either on-site or independent departments that manage projects and ensure company procedures, practices and operations run properly.
What you can rely on a project management office to do
In general, PMOs monitor projects and ensure they fall within the company’s overall strategy. Their responsibilities might include training staff for the project, developing standards for the project, and/or establishing project portfolios.
While the specific duties vary from company to company and industry to industry, these are typically the most common PMO functionalities:
- Spearhead communications and information flow throughout the company and within projects
- Plan and optimize portfolio resources
- Resolve resource conflicts
- Establish standardized methods and processes for project management
- Maintain employee data regarding current capacity, project assignments, and skills available
- Choose and introduce tools and software necessary for project completion
- Train staff on how to use tools and software for projects when necessary
- Supports develop talent within the company
- Provide support for administrators, project managers, and teams
3 types of project management offices
While there is really a spectrum of PMO types, each with a different purpose and goal, most generally fall into one of the following three categories:
- Supportive. This flavor of PMO is more of an advisor. They offer ideas and best practices to get your project started. After that, they’re off the job.
- Controlling. These PMOs are a little more involved than their ‘supportive’ cousins and the most common. They provide project templates, procedures, and reports. While they’re not the boss, they are responsible for some enforcement, along with supporting project operations.
- Directive. As you may have guessed, directive PMOs take control of the entire project. They direct project managers, provide project support and ensure all procedures are followed to the letter.
Where the rubber meets asphalt: Do you actually need a project management office?
If your operations aren’t working harmoniously, or they’re working in isolation, you should probably consider a PMO to create:
- Ownership and accountability. PMOs earn their position by keeping projects under budget, on time, running smoothly, and on target with company objectives.
- Agility. Having a PMO creates visibility and control – from day one through the completion of the project – allowing for more expedient changes and adaptations.
- Unity. From making sure each project and team member is aligned with company strategy to ensuring that everyone is using the same tools, technology, and software, PMOs bring alignment to operations and ensure everyone is working from the same page of the same book.
- They let your team do their jobs and create better outcomes. PMOs handle global project assessments, ensuring that you’re delivering on time and within budget, which frees up time and space for your team to stay focused what they were hired to do, leading to greater project outcomes overall.
- Project optimization. In a sense, everything a PMO does is with the intent to fully exploit the potential of each project. PMOs increase efficiency, quality, and improve project success rates.
PMOs are still somewhat exotic entities, however, they’re implementation is rapidly on the rise. If you’re looking for additional support on IT project staffing and solutions, you can find as more useful resources here.