April 12, 2023
min read
Last updated:
August 31, 2023

An overview of PMOs

April 12, 2023
min read
Last updated:
August 31, 2023

An overview of PMOs

What is a PMO

A Project Management Office (PMO) is the central hub in a business that is responsible for establishing and overseeing project management practices and standards.  

A PMO is the font of all project management knowledge, ensuring that the management of projects is consistent across the board and aligned with organisational goals. Essentially, a PMO is the go-to department for information, resources, and best practices.  


Although a PMO (Project Management Office) and an EPMO (Enterprise Project Management Office) have some similarities, there are some significant differences.  

A PMO is a centralised unit within an organisation, providing project management guidance and support across the organisation. It typically has a narrow focus on project execution, including providing standardised project management methodologies, tools, templates, and training to project managers.

On the other hand, an EPMO operates at a higher level, a more comprehensive unit that provides governance and oversight of all enterprise-wise projects. It has a broader focus, covering the full project life cycle from ideation to post-implementation, and is responsible for aligning projects with organisational goals and objectives.

The role of the EPMO has many similarities with a PMO and usually includes:  

  • Ensuring alignment of projects to business strategies
  • Project manager mentoring
  • Managing resources  
  • Ensuring standardisation across the organisation for all projects  
  • Monitoring and tracking of how PMOs collaborate to add value to the organisation as a whole  
  • Coordinating with PMOs

What are the 3 types of PMO

There are three primary types of PMOs, with each serving a different purpose. Here's a breakdown of each:

Supportive PMO

A Supportive PMO provides help and guidance to project teams by supplying them with templates, best practices, and training. It maintains a library of ‘lessons learned’ - the documentation of both the positive and negative experiences of a project. A Supportive PMO also ensures that project management standards are followed, and acts as a central repository for all project documentation. It’s important to note that the Supportive PMO has no authority over the project team or the project manager who have significant autonomy.  

Controlling PMO

The Controlling PMO is a centralised management structure that maintains control over all projects in an organisation. It oversees all project management activities, including budget, resources, and schedule, ensuring projects are delivered on time, on budget, and within scope. A Controlling PMO also defines the standards and processes to be followed for project management, and it monitors compliance with these standards. It provides a higher level of oversight, requiring project managers to follow specific processes and standards.

Directive PMO

A directive PMO has the most control, defining the processes and standards for project management that must be followed. The Directive PMO provides guidance, support, and direction to project teams, whilst having the authority to take control of projects and assign resources as needed. The Directive PMO is responsible for selecting projects to be undertaken and assigning the relevant resources to them.

Each of these PMOs has its strengths and weaknesses, and the selection of the right PMO type is critical for the success of a project management initiative. It is up to each organisation to decide which type of PMO is most appropriate for their needs.  

Benefits of a PMO

Setting up a Project Management Office (PMO) can provide numerous benefits to an organisation such as:

Standardisation: A PMO helps to standardise project management practices and processes across the organisation. This ensures that all projects are executed consistently and in accordance with best practices chosen and in line with the organisation’s needs.  

Improved Governance: A PMO can provide governance oversight and ensure that projects align with the organisation's strategic goals and objectives. This helps to ensure that the organisation's resources are focused on delivering projects that provide the most significant value to the business.

Better Resource Allocation: A PMO can help organisations to allocate resources effectively across projects. This ensures that resources are utilised efficiently and effectively, maximising the organisation's return on investment.

Enhanced Risk Management: A PMO can improve risk management by establishing processes for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks across projects. This ensures that potential issues are identified early and addressed appropriately, reducing the likelihood of project delays or cost overruns.  

Improved Communication: A PMO can improve communication across projects by providing a centralised hub for project information. This ensures that stakeholders are informed of project progress, potential issues, and risks, enabling them to collaborate effectively to resolve any problems. Effective communication is vital for all projects.  

Increased Accountability: A PMO can increase accountability by establishing clear roles and responsibilities for project team members. This level of effective resource management ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and that they are held accountable for delivering their part of the project on time and to the required standard.  

Improved Project Performance: A PMO can improve project performance by providing project managers with access to the tools and resources they need to manage projects effectively. This includes training, and development opportunities, and support from experienced project managers. Software can also be provided for effective collaboration, organisation and overall productivity, but it’s important to ensure that the solution chosen is at the right level for the organisation.  

Tools for a PMO

A PPM software should do more than just provide a place to organise a project, there is a key difference after all between managing projects and project management. We’re also well aware of how many different project management platforms there are available, but there is also a great difference between project management software (PM), and project portfolio management software (PPM).  

A robust, centralised PPM software such as Fluid to run your PMO and projects on greatly increases the overall efficiency and output of your PMO. Fluid PPM software is a comprehensive solution, providing business-wide view of projects (which we know is super helpful for a PMO), whilst including the benefits of day-to-day scheduling, work, and task management of a PM software (again, super helpful but to project managers too!).  

Start your free trial today to learn how Fluid PPM software can help with all your projects.  

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