Imagine an organization that has multiple projects running where:
In such cases, managing projects becomes a complex task. You’ll need kiosks for tracking projects, adherence to standards and best practices, communication between project managers, and visibility for all stakeholders. This is where a project management office (PMO) comes in.
In this article, you’ll learn what a PMO is, its roles and responsibilities, and how you can establish one within your product team.
A PMO is a centralized department in an organization that oversees and manages projects via project managers. It provides support, guidance, standards, tools and training to ensure projects are completed on time within budget, adhering to the required quality standards.
A PMO primarily focuses on three key functions:
Now that you understand the key functions of a PMO, let’s understand different types of PMO setups you can have within an organization.
As the name suggests, the supportive type of PMO is more of a consultative and advisory committee in an organization. A supportive PMO will provide support and guidance to project managers helping them to achieve their project success. This group will not have any direct control over the projects. Some of the key activities of Supportive PMO are:
This type of PMO is beneficial to the organizations with a matured project management environment where additional control of projects would be unnecessary. In such an environment, project managers hold strong expertise in project delivery and only would need on-demand consultation for any problems they would face during execution.
As the name suggests, this PMO not only provides support, but also ensures that the project is executed in accordance with defined standards, processes, and policies. A controlling PMO has an equal share of the projects as a project manager. The PMO team here works closely with project managers and guides them towards successful project delivery.
Some of the key activities of a controlling PMO (in addition to support) are:
A controlling PMO is best suited in organizations where the project manager and teams are experienced, but need further guidance and supervision to execute the project.
A directive PMO has complete control over project management and oversees the project manager and project teams in execution of the project. This type of PMO is directly involved in project management and becomes part of the project life cycle. Some of the key activities of directive PMO (in addition to control over project) are:
Under the directive type of PMO, the project manager works completely under the supervision and direction of the PMO team. A directive PMO is adopted in organizations that have less project management experience. This type of PMO can also be applied in an organization that is undergoing transformation or major change in its business model, products, or services.
The most common roles within a PMO are:
Adding a PMO to your product team provides you with important oversight. The following list provides you with some of the key benefits a PMO offers:
Although PMOs provide benefits, there are a few challenges you should consider prior to adopting one for your product team:
Establishing a project management office doesn’t happen overnight. It can take at least a month or two and up to several months or years to establish a strong, mature PMO. To get started, you can follow these step:
When you first get started, create a small PMO with one project and a small set of responsibilities. Then you can slowly expand the scope of PMO and include more projects as and when it becomes more mature and established. Seek constant feedback from stakeholders and secure support from senior management by periodically communicating values to them.
The project management office is a group created within an organization to provide support and guidance to project managers. They empower project managers to execute projects in a well-defined and standardized manner.
The PMO is responsible for defining standards, implementing processes, creating and publishing communication templates, implementing methodologies and best practices, training and coaching teams in project management. PMO operates on three core functions: governance, support, and delivery.
Based on your unique environment you can decide whether to implement a supportive, controlling or directive PMO. No matter which you choose, a PMO will help increase project profitability, transparency to senior management, customer satisfaction, predictable project delivery, and so on. Just remember to start small and work your way up.
Featured image source: IconScout
LogRocket identifies friction points in the user experience so you can make informed decisions about product and design changes that must happen to hit your goals.
With LogRocket, you can understand the scope of the issues affecting your product and prioritize the changes that need to be made. LogRocket simplifies workflows by allowing Engineering, Product, UX, and Design teams to work from the same data as you, eliminating any confusion about what needs to be done.
Get your teams on the same page — try LogRocket today.
Product marketing helps you determine the goals and go-to-market strategy of your product and helps you better adapt to market shifts.
Carlos Jimenez, VP of Product at KingMakers, dispels the “dangerous” misconception that product- and sales-led cultures can’t coexist and thrive together.
A marketing plan is a structured guide for a company’s marketing activities across a specific period.
Alan Fliegelman shares how his work at DHI is transforming the job search process and the various transitions he’s seen in his time there.