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PMO - what to expect?

A PMO is part of the project management methodology and in organizations where project management principles are applied, you will find this type of team - perhaps not with such a specific name all the time, but function for sure. What is interesting is that PMO can be translated in different ways: Project Management Office, Program Management Office, Portfolio Management Office. The translation of the PMO has a lot of influence, what you can ask of this group of people.

Bellow your will some thoughts of what are the differences between those different type of teams:

Project Management Office

Program Management Office

Portfolio Management Office

The main focus is project management methodology and processes

The main focus is on the huge programs taking place in the organization and the methodology required to carry them out

The main focus of this team is on the entire investment portfolio, its planning, prioritization and management

The team usually implements project management tools and templates

In addition to conventional project and program management tools, the team typically implements integrated plan management techniques for the entire program

In addition to project management, program management processes and tools, the team also implements project portfolio management processes, which include benefit tracking at the portfolio level, risk tracking, implementation of reporting to the top management of the organization, etc.

This type of PMO team tends to be more junior in terms of experience

These types of teams are made up of people with more experience, because when working with programs, dependencies management between the different deliveries becomes critical

If the PMO is translated as a portfolio management team, strong people with not only project but also program management and sometimes even product management experience are very important

Most common stakeholders that PMO team members suppose to work are project managers and project team members

Often this type of PMO is implemented dedicated to a specific program and the program managers themselves are part of this team. And they are working with program management team and leadership

Members of the portfolio management team work with managers at various levels and are part of the organization's strategic planning process

Very often this type of PMO is considered as an administrative department performing a monitoring and support function

In this case, the PMO is seen as a higher value-creating unit, without which large programs usually cannot survive, because it would be extremely difficult for one program manager to manage the scope of the entire program and the project managers working in it

This type of PMO is seen as a significant value-creating unit for the organization because it helps to see and manage everything related to the roadmap to achieve strategic goals of the organization and planned benefits of the project portfolio. When there is a need to make changes in the project portfolio due to the changing market situation, these people are the ones who initiate the necessary actions and prioritization

The differences listed above could go on and on, but in my opinion, these are the main points to consider when deciding what your team will be called and what their functions will be. Of course, it is worth noting that the organization should create such a team as per its needs, i.e. what benefits the organization would like to achieve by having such a function.


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