Jul 4, 2011

Types of PMO

[Update August 24, 2013: More thoughts on PMO Categories: http://tripleconstraints.blogspot.com/2013/08/pmo-setups-in-project-delivery.html]

There are basic three types of PMO (Project Management Office) that you will in project management literature. The three types actually relate to different kinds of functions a PMO will perform in an organization. The identification of a PMO type should be one of the first steps in establishing a PMO.

Supportive PMO
- Provides on-demand support to project managers and teams in shape of expertise, templates, historical data, best practices etc.
- PMO does not have any executive control of any kind on any project
- Suitable for organization with independent, loosely controlled and powerful project management with PMO acting more like a helping agent.


Controlling PMO
- Provides essential support to project managers and teams in shape of expertise, templates, historical data, and best practices etc. – Project managers must use help of and adhere to templates, best practices etc. which are provided by PMO.
- PMO is more like agent-for-change unlike helping agent in Supportive PMO.
- PMO also conduct inspections, audits and reviews of proje prcts.
- PMO helps in conducting trainings for the project managers

Directive PMO
- PMO provides project managers for projects.
- PMO has complete control of all the projects and provide artifacts (best practices, templates, documents) which are used in all projects.
- Quality of project management in general is at best in this kind of PMO.
- There is complete uniformity in the methodology, practices and metrics used in various projects.
- Comparison of the project outcomes is easiest since all projects used standardized metrics and way of leading project.


There is no best kind of PMO whatsoever. It all depends on organizational projects, project management methodology, management team, culture, requirements and objectives of a PMO. The organizations also change their PMO types sometimes to see which one suit them best. For instance, when PMO is initially established, many organizations start with a Supportive PMO while gradually promoting it to Controlling PMO as team become more trained, project become more aligned to defined methodology etc.


Being aware of these types and selecting them appropriately helps in actualizing an idea of having a PMO that contribute to overall projects’ and organization’s success.

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