PMO Role: Definition and Key Functions

Let us get one thing straight: there is no ONE universally applicable list of a PMO’s functions and responsibilities. The PMO functions and their prioritization always depend on the type of project the project management office (PMO) is expected to manage in a multi-project environment. At the same time they also depend on the individual objectives a PMO is meant to achieve.

What is more, the extensive PMO survey conducted by TPG The Project Group in 2020 has provided very interesting and current data in this field. The results show how often PMOs are engaged in which area of responsibility and how well established these individual areas are. This provides you with a good comparison as well as ideas for functions you could consider next for your PMO.

The extensive PMO Study 2020 by TPG The Project Group has demonstrated that the most time is currently allocated to the PMO functions of standardization of methods, processes and tools as well as implementation of projects. According to the respondents, this focus is however supposed to shift in the future towards strategic functions and those in the areas of multi-project and resource management as well as training.

What is more, the PMO survey showed significant differences in the PMO functions between the performance levels of top, high and low performers. The differences were most pronounced with regard to the functions of supporting multi-project management and resource management as well as in individual areas of training and strategic support.

After many years as a development engineer in the automotive and energy sectors, Johann Strasser spent a decade as an independent trainer and consultant in the field of project management. During his tenure, he also served as project manager for software projects in the construction industry and provided scheduling and cost management support for large-scale construction projects. At TPG, he applies his expertise in product development and consulting services for international clients. His special focus is on PMO, project portfolios, hybrid project management, and resource management. For many years now, he has shared his knowledge through presentations, seminars, articles, and webinars.

After earning his engineering degree in environmental technology, he gained many years of experience in project management through his work at an engineering office, an equipment manufacturer, and a multimedia agency. Achim Schmidt-Sibeth and his team have been responsible for marketing and communication at TPG The Project Group for many years now.

What are the roles and responsibilities of pmo?

What is a PMO? Project Management Office or…

Why is having a PMO important?

Having a PMO is important for turning project objectives into deliverables. While not every organization may need a PMO, large organizations or businesses that run multiple projects at once may need a PMO to make sure they achieve consistency across projects. A PMO can align goals between teams within the organization and implement strategies that drive teams to achieve business objectives. Further, PMOs play an important role in supporting project teams by helping to decide how to allocate funding and resources based on project priorities.

What is a PMO role?

A PMO is a department within an organization that establishes and maintains all expectations for project management. The PMO defines project guidelines and standards to ensure that projects run smoothly, produce quality products and meet deadlines. They create actionable plans by defining measurable goals that give structure to projects.

For example, a PMO for a software development company oversees three departments, each working to develop a different web application. The PMO sets deadlines and establishes a budget for each department based on the companys needs and available resources. It coordinates between the three departments to ensure each project follows company guidelines for project development and is meeting expectations. For each project, it collects data and produces reports to assess how effectively each project team is working.

What are the benefits of having a PMO?

Two significant benefits of having a PMO include reducing costs and improving efficiency across departments within an organization. PMOs centralize many project management tasks, which reduces the amount of time and money department managers need to spend on planning their project approach. The PMO standardizes project management guidelines by considering business objectives, industry expectations for best practices and the organizations available resources. It helps businesses make decisions by tracking projects and delivering reports. Additionally, it may improve transparency between departments by collecting data in a central location that is visible to all stakeholders.

Standard roles in a PMO

The standard roles within a PMO may vary by industry and organization. However, a PMO team may include professionals with diverse skill sets. Some common roles in a PMO include:

The structure of a PMO team depends on the organization, its needs and its goals. For example, a PMO for a major technology company may need more software experts than other types of businesses because this company may have more of a need to update the software it uses regularly.

What are the key functions of a PMO?

PMOs provide many duties and fill various roles within an organization, including:

Establish project governance and structure

One of the most important functions of a PMO is to develop a common framework all departments use for their projects. PMOs define policies, regulations and processes that determine how managers, team members, investors and other stakeholders work on projects. This function makes sure team members have clearly defined rules, the plan for the project aligns with the projects goals and the project stays within its parameters for deadlines and budgets.

Produce management reports

Another function of a PMO is to create reports that track progress toward project objectives. These reports help managers assess their work and decide how to ensure the success of their project. For example, a PMO may deliver a report that identifies potential risks for a project. Based on the information generated in the report, the project manager may develop a strategy to minimize the risk potential. Producing regular reports is essential for measuring the effectiveness of current strategies and evaluating progress toward project goals.

Prioritize projects based on organizational goals

PMOs are important for future business planning because they assess the short- and long-term goals of a business or organization and make sure its programs and portfolios align with its objectives. The PMO may help businesses prioritize or choose projects based on their objectives. Additionally, the PMO may take responsibility for designing programs and portfolios to achieve business goals.

Allocate resources efficiently

Good resource management is essential to project success, and PMOs contribute to this by planning and scheduling how the organization divides resources between projects. They coordinate between departments by making project reports visible to everyone, and they oversee scheduling so they can make changes in how they distribute resources based on needs and availability.

Streamline projects by creating tools and maintaining data

PMOs evaluate performance and develop tools, processes and software to improve efficiency. They may invest in tools that automate processes or create methods to streamline tasks. For example, the PMO may collect data about the skills and workflow of members of a project team. Based on how team members work best, they may design strategies that capitalize on the skills and preferences of the team. PMOs also create and maintain project records. Once a project finishes, the PMO may store data about the project, and managers of future projects may reference the information stored in the archive to guide their work.

Train project managers

Another function of a PMO is to train project managers. Although project managers may not report to the PMO in all organizations, some PMOs supervise project managers and ensure they have the training to succeed in their roles. As part of this training, PMOs make sure managers know the methods, techniques, best practices and expectations of the organization. They train project managers on the project-specific language the company uses to ensure consistency. Lastly, PMOs can continue to mentor project managers as projects and goals change. PMOs ensure project managers remain knowledgeable about updated policies and standards.

Facilitate collaboration between teams

A PMO helps teams collaborate across organizations. Large organizations with many departments that work on varied projects may find it helpful to have a central department overseeing the coordination between project teams. The PMO can assist with connecting teams with one another and facilitating communication. By maintaining records for all departments within an organization, the PMO can assist teams with accessing information from other areas of the business as needed. This function is essential for expediting communication, improving transparency and increasing internal consistency.

FAQ

What 3 things does a PMO do?

A PMO can offer guidance on planning, scheduling, procurement, and all the execution and tracking related activities. Project teams can leverage the PMO’s knowledge of Project Portfolio Management standards and practices and its expertise to avoid execution pitfalls and make sure projects stay on track.

Is PMO higher than project manager?

The Project Manager’s role is higher than that of PMO and the PMO works under the Project Manager.

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