by Christopher Worsley

What is the focus of your PMO?


What is the focus of your PMO?
What is the focus of your PMO?

Ask anybody about what their PMO should be doing and they will always come back with the response, well that depends....

And what does it depend upon?  Its purpose yes, but ultimately who wants the PMO and what value they expect from the services the PMO delivers. With increasing demands for the PMO to support the delivery of return on investment through appropriate portfolio governance and sustainable realisation of benefits a number of PMO models are emerging.

Using the PiCubed change diamond as the organiser – here is our quick guide.

The project office

...focuses on supporting the delivery of individual projects. Most provide information to senior management about the status of the projects, reporting on expenditure, project progress and problems encountered.

Some provide direct support to the project managers, offering templates, methods, historical data and administrative support. Many walk a fine line between being seen as a valuable part of the project management community or as being an expensive administrative overhead.

PiCubed's workshop on Structuring your PMO for Success will move you firmly into the ‘highly valued’ territory.


The portfolio office

...should be situated within the business, reporting to the COO or the office of the CEO, to be truly effective.

Its purpose is to support the delivery of project portfolios and is more concerned about maximising value returned from the investment in projects and optimising the use of project resources than in the success or failure of individual projects. They will support the governance for individual projects working with project sponsors more than with project managers.

The PMO workshop will set out policies and approaches to the use of satellite project offices and balancing the needs of maintain throughput against the needs of individual projects.

The programme office set up to provide the essential management structures necessary to deliver a programme.

By their very nature the projects in a programme are interdependent on one another and these links are managed by the PMO.  Though interested in the performance of the projects, its focus is making sure that the vision and the benefits the programme is responsible for, are delivered.  This means that programme offices are more involved with the business community than project offices and stakeholder engagement is a fundamental discipline.

The PMO workshop will put the techniques for managing and administering programmes into context.

The change office a relatively new departure for the PMO community – and perhaps a better name for this type of office is a Results Management Office – RMO.

Their purpose is to ensure that money spent on projects delivers the results expected, i.e. the benefits are realised.  It means extending the remit beyond the project management community and working with operational managers and measuring KPIs, not project status.  It usually means that RMOs sit best either int he office of the CEO or report to the COO.

When designing or evolving the PMO, understanding its remit and what its real purpose is, affects the processes, the people and the placing of the PMO.

PiCubed’s workshops on PMO set-up, guide you through the process of design and re-alignment of your PMO. If you would like to know more, contact Sally at or call on +27 21 7955 130

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Issue 29


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