What is your experience with PMO Office?

Project management

In companies, the idea persists that "the right role of a PMO (Project Management Office) is to support everyone involved in making a project successful" (Dean Meyer).

At first glance, there is not much to criticize about this definition, as it contains one of the essential truths about project management en nuce: In fact, the members of a project team must be given enough freedom to be able to meet their project goals.

However, anyone who is familiar with everyday life in today's companies, especially large corporations, cannot avoid adding two questions:

  • Is support a sufficient resource?

  • And is it really only the PMO's job to provide this support?

The second question in particular is even more urgent when you consider that in many companies routine administrative activities such as creating reports, updating project plans and filling out change forms are seen as the most urgent or even the only activities of a PMO.

And often the results of these documentation activities are ultimately not even supportive of success but consist of project plans that are not consistent and of reports that give an incorrect actual status about a program or project.

The 3 types of PMO

In fact, the mere terminology around the PMO topic is complex: The abbreviation PMO is provided with various synonyms, all of which have different meanings. The abbreviation PMO can be used for both project and program management office. A project-supporting, a project-monitoring and a strategically-oriented PMO are known.

  1. The strategically-oriented PMO in a company creates the specifications for the organization. Here, specifications should be described, standards developed, tools introduced and maintained and further development promoted.

  2. The project monitoring PMO is always suitable when all programs and projects of a company have to be controlled to ensure the three critical factors of time, costs and quality.

  3. Project support PMOs after all, they are provided to support a project. As a rule, particularly experienced project managers and project staff ensure that all sub-projects are processed in a coordinated manner.

But what are the factors that make a project a success? Or to put it another way: Where are the predetermined breaking points hidden, which cliffs need to be avoided?