Project Management Offices

The project management office (PMO) is usually a centralized organizational unit that oversees the management of projects and programs throughout the organization. The most common reason a company starts a project management office is to establish and maintain procedures and standards for project management methodologies and to manage resources assigned to the projects in the PMO. In some organizations, project managers and team members might report directly to the PMO and are assigned to projects as they are initiated. In other organizations, the PMO may provide support functions for projects and train employees in project management procedures and techniques. Still others, depending on their size and function, have experts available that assist project managers in project planning, estimating, and business assumption verification tasks. They serve as mentors to junior-level project managers and act as consultants to the senior project managers.

A PMO can exist in all organizational structures—functional, projectized, or matrix. (These structures will be discussed later in this chapter.) It might have full authority to oversee projects, including the authority to cancel projects, or it might serve only in an advisory role. PMOs might also be called project offices or program management offices or Centers of Excellence.

The PMO usually has responsibility for maintaining and archiving project documentation for future reference. This office compares project goals with project progress and gives feedback to the project teams. It also measures the project performance of active projects and suggests corrective actions. The PMO evaluates completed projects for their adherence to the project plan and asks questions like, "Did the project meet the time frames established?" and "Did it stay within budget?" and "Was the quality acceptable?"

Project managers are typically responsible for meeting the objectives of the project they are managing, controlling the resources within the project, and managing the individual project constraints. The PMO is responsible for managing the objectives of a collective set of projects, managing resources across the projects, and managing the interdependencies of all the projects within the PMOs authority.

Project management offices are common in organizations today, if for no other reason than to serve as a collection point for project documentation. Some PMOs are fairly sophisticated and prescribe the standards and methodologies to be used in all project phases across the enterprise. Still others provide all these functions and also offer project management consulting services. However, the establishment of a PMO is not required in order for you to apply good project management practices to your next project.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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