Building your PMO – Influence and Position

Building your PMO – Influence and Position

There are a number of things to consider when introducing a PMO. The Project Management Office fails far too often because of the wrong approach, and it can only be successful in the long term if fundamental questions are considered at an early stage.

Factors such as size, function, and hierarchy play an important role. In the following article, we will answer some relevant questions in relation to PMO influence and position.

We are going to categorise PMOs based on two elements – their influence (their ability and power in the organisation) and their position within the company (where it is classified in the company hierarchy).

Influence

When we are talking about influence, this means every company has a different culture, which is going to influence its PMO structure and how it evolves. Based on that influence and degree of control, PMO can be categorized as:

  • Supportive
  • Controlling
  • Directive

Supportive – This type of PMO offers a Consultative role to Projects and serves as the repository for:

  • Templates.
  • Best Practice.
  • Training.
  • Access to information and Lessons learned from previous projects.

The degree of control provided by this type of PMO is low.

Controlling
Controlling PMO ensures that defined processes and standards are actually applied in the project. It provides a project management framework and methodologies using: 

  • Templates
  • Forms
  • Tools
  • Compliance controls

The degree of control, provided by the controlling PMO is Moderate.

Directive
The directive PMO has the highest impact and also the highest level of accountability. By taking on concrete project responsibility, such a PMO requires a very high degree of control. Establishing it is usually accompanied by organisational adjustments or even a reorganisation and is therefore much more complex and challenging. This type of PMO is accountable for project management function, delivery, and resources such as:

  • Pipeline management
  • Delivery Methodology
  • Project resources
  • Governance

The degree of control, provided by the controlling PMO is High.

Position

According to its position within the company and the structure based on organisational hierarchy, PMO might be:

• Individual

• Departmental

• Enterprise

Individual
Individual PMOs typically provide functional support (e.g., infrastructure, document management, training, etc.) to a single complex project or program. They set basic standards and oversee planning and control activities for a single project.

Departmental
This is a case where a PMO is set up within a specific department. It provides project-related services to support a business unit or division within an organisation such as IT or operations.

Enterprise
At a certain point, the expansion of the PMO’s role across an organisation requires an additional arm to organise and manage enterprise-level projects and resources with the executive team. This type of PMO provides an infrastructure to standardise the procedures, goals, resource management, and other aspects of project management throughout the organisation, ultimately ensuring that these operations fully align with the business’s high-level strategy.

As in most areas of project management, there is no “one size fits all”. We at Aspira understand that each organisation will have a unique PMO. So please reach out and contact us to discuss which type of PMO suits your organisation.

Damien Kearns - Head of Advisory

Damien Kearns - Head of Advisory

Damien is the Head and Principal Consultant for developing the Advisory line of business and leading the team for the delivery and execution of consultancy engagements. Advisory Services include PMO Audits, PMO Set up and Governance, Project Audits, Project Initiation, Project Maturity Assessment, Project Mentoring, Project Recovery and Project Scheduling.

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