PMOs have almost as many names as they do iterations. I’ve seen them called Programme Management Offices, Project Management Offices, Programme & Project Management Offices, Programme/Project Support Offices. Take your pick.
The functions they provide are as diverse as the names, but what most PMOs should be doing is adding value to your organisation.
This is something that a lot of PMOs don’t appear to focus on. In too many instances the PMO is either a process and policy shop or they’re the programme and project police.
Of course both of these activities certainly belong in the PMO and should definitely be undertaken by the PMO, but only so far in that it adds value to the organisation. They should not be its sole focus.
So what do we mean by value in this case?
Each organisation has its own unique strategic goals and objectives (aims) and a number of programmes and projects (initiatives) to work towards achieving these goals and benefits. The PMO should support these initiatives in achieving the organisational aims. This can be done by:
- Providing the PM methodology,
- Prioritising and tracking projects in the pipeline
- Making decisions on which initiatives should or shouldn’t continue,
- Managing initiative resources,
- Financial management, or
- Managing the realisation of benefits.
These are just a few examples of the numerous ways in which the PMO can help organisations meet their aims – there are countless others.
The opportunities for the PMO to add value are vast. All that is needed for a truly value-driven approach is for the PMO to fully understand the unique aims of the organisation and to ensure its activities contribute towards those aims.