We’ll help you build a project management office (PMO) that is right for your organisation and will dramatically improve the quality and certainty of project success.

Project management offices (PMOs) have been around since the 1930s and chances are you have worked in an organisation at some point that has had one. PMOs appear in many different forms and even the naming can be confusing. PMO, might mean a Project Management Office, a Program Management Office or even a Portfolio Management Office.

But what is a PMO and are they useful?

At Cygnis we believe PMOs are a useful way for an organisation to set some standards and controls for how projects are managed. PMOs are complementary to an effective Project Portfolio Management (PPM) capability, providing useful inputs into the performance and allocation of resources and investments.

Our experts have established PMOs in organisations with no project capability as well as organisations that have a mature project capability with multiple PMOs. At the heart of a successful PMO is the pursuit of greater certainty in project outcomes and efficient allocation of resources across projects.

Working with clients on PMOs has demonstrated that when a PMOs structures, processes and practices are working well they are a critical factor in successful in strategic execution.

In our experience there are three common types of PMOs that vary in the degree of control and influence they have on projects within an organisation. We’ll help you determine which type you need to establish in order to have an effective project office:

  • Support only PMO – typically provides administrative support only and is really there for the projects rather than the overall organisation. These PMOs can develop guides on best practice and templates, but will not enforce them or have authority to change projects or resource them. This type of PMO suits organisations that want light central oversight of projects and value flexibility in the way they run and oversee projects and where additional control is unnecessary
  • Controlling PMO – this type of PMO can be useful in organisations where there are a lot of inconsistent project outcomes or where project activities need to be reined in. A more controlling PMO is given the mandate and authority to ensure practices and policies are followed by projects and conduct regular quality reviews to ensure performance and consistency, but they are not typically accountable for delivery or the quality of project resources
  • Directive PMO – This type of PMO goes beyond control and is accountable for the success of projects as well as providing the project management experience and resources to manage the projects. Directive PMOs are more likely to form a project management community and centre of excellence for project management, which can improve consistency, coordination and resource allocation across projects overall quality of project outcomes. The downside is this can be disempowering for departments that want more control over their projects (especially if the project funding is not centralised)

Deciding on the right type of PMO for your organisation needs to reflect the operating model (functional vs separate businesses), project funding approach (centralised vs federated), culture around collaboration and accountability as well as the informal history of what works and what doesn’t at your organisation.

Cygnis will help you build a project management office (PMO) that is right for your organisation and will dramatically improve the quality and certainty of project success.

Our project management office (PMO) services
  • Design and establishment of a PMO
  • Develop project processes and tools for your PMO
  • Assessment of PMO effectiveness
  • Capability uplift/improvement of your PMO
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