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Overwhelmed with too many projects? Easy guide to implement a PMO

Here's a comprehensive guide to overall managing, controlling and tracking all of your projects with a Project Management Office (PMO), including the benefits, types of PMOs, and essential steps for success.

  1. What is a PMO

  2. What are the benefits of implementing a PMO?

  3. Types of PMOs by function / maturity

  4. Steps for implementing PMOs in organizations

  5. Main consideration for success

What is a PMO?

A Project Management Office (PMO) is a centralized unit or person within an organization that standardizes and guides project management processes, such as project ideation, initiation & approval, planning & execution support and measuring the outcome of projects versus the strategy and goals of the organisation. It provides support, governance, and guidance to ensure projects align with business objectives.

The PMO is not directly responsible for the success of individual projects but establishes best practices and supports project managers for optimal outcomes.

In bigger organisation, PMO departments could have their own project managers to be in charge of business-critical and cross-functional projects.

In start-ups often the CEO / Founder or a Chief of Staff is often fulfilling the PMO responsibilities with mixed results. See also our recent blog on Start-up Organisation.

What are the benefits of Implementing a PMO

  • Strategic Alignment: PMOs ensure that projects align with the company's broader goals, OKRs and agile planning to prioritize different projects and improve decision-making.

  • Resource Optimization: PMOs help manage and allocate resources effectively, maximizing efficiency across the project portfolio.

  • Professional Development: PMOs offer mentoring and training opportunities, contributing to the growth of project management professionals.

  • Improved Consistency: PMOs establish standard methodologies and templates, leading to predictable and consistent project delivery.

  • Enhanced Project Success: PMOs increase the likelihood of projects being completed on time, within budget, and meeting quality standards.

Types of PMOs by function:

  • Supportive: Focuses on providing templates, best practices, and training.

  • Controlling: Requires project managers to follow established processes for greater governance.

  • Directive: Actively manages projects, assuming direct responsibility for their outcomes.

Types of PMOs by maturity:

Types of PMO - Asia PMO
Types of PMO - Asia PMO

Steps for implementing a PMO in organisations:

  1. Establish PMO Structure and define Purpose:  Get executive support and hire a PMO responsible or a team and determine the type of PMO needed, its functions, and its reporting structure within the organization (ideally directly to CEO or Board)

  2. Establish Standards and Methodology: Create, document, and communicate project management templates and processes to streamline execution.

  3. Design a Project Portfolio overview: Collect all current and future projects in an methodological and trackable overview sheet or tool for priosation, analysis and status reporting including: - Project Success Management: Collects agreements and data on project objectives, deliverables & RAG status across the organisation - Resource Management: Allocate and manage project resources, including people, budget, and tools. This helps avoid conflicts. - Risk Management: Implement a structured risk management framework, including identifying, assessing, and mitigating project risks across the portfolio.

  4. Portfolio Management and Prioritization: Ensure that the PMO plays a role in selecting and prioritizing projects that align with the strategic goals of the organization, taking part in all planning and review meetings / workshops.

  5. Reporting and Communication: Establish clear communication channels between the PMO, project teams, and stakeholders. Regular reporting on project status, budgets, and risks is critical, plus further analytics to help identify trends, bottlenecks, and areas for process improvement. Provides leadership with key insights for informed decision-making.

  6. Tools and Technology: Select and implement appropriate project management software and tools as needed to support PMO functions.

  7. Continuous Improvement: The PMO must continuously review project management practices, identifying areas for improvement and adjusting processes accordingly.

Main considerations for success

  • Executive Support: Obtaining support from senior management is vital for the PMO to be impactful.

  • Change Management: Communicate the benefits of the PMO to the organization to facilitate buy-in and streamline adoption.

  • Flexibility: Maintain a degree of flexibility to adapt to changing project requirements and circumstances.

  • People Focused: Invest in the development of project managers and recognize the importance of the human element in successful project delivery.

  • Not a magic solution: PMOs do not guarantee project success. They provide the framework, tools, and support for projects to thrive but depend on the culture of the organisation.

  • Evolves with your organization: PMO functions and services may need to adapt as your company and project landscape changes.

If you or your organisation are interested in establishing a PMO function or enabling an individual like Chief of Staff for overall project steering, please reach out to us. We have established PMOs in Banks, Fintechs, Ecommerce, Retail & Property Groups, FMCGs and all kind of start-ups. We could support you to initiate and establish a PMO and could run it for you as a pilot before we can support you to train / coach PMO responsible to run a basic PMO. Feel free to contact us on or contact us here.


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