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 The 3 Different Types of Project Management Offices | PM Tools - PM Tools

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The 3 Different Types of Project Management Offices

There are 3 basic types of Project Management Office (PMO) organizations, varying in the degree of control and influence they have on projects within the organization. You will need to determine which type you need to establish in order to have an effective project office.

The 3 types of PMOs include:1. Supportive PMO

The Supportive PMO generally provides support in the form of on-demand expertise, templates, best practices, access the information and expertise on other projects, and the like. This can work in an organization where projects are done successfully in a loosely controlled manner and where additional control is deemed unnecessary. Also, if the objective is to have a sort of ‘clearinghouse’ of project management info across the enterprise to be used freely by PMs, then the Supportive PMO is the right type. 2. Controlling PMO

In organizations where there is a desire to “reign in” the activities – processes, procedures, documentation, and more – a controlling PMO can accomplish that. Not only does the organization provide support, but it also REQUIRES that the support be used. Requirements might include adoption of specific methodologies, templates, forms, conformance to governance, and application of other PMO controlled sets of rules. In addition, project offices might need to pass regular reviews by the Controlling PMO, and this may represent a risk factor on the project. This works if a. there is a clear case that compliance with PMO offerings will bring imporvements in the organization and how it exectes on projects, and b. the PMO has sufficient executive support to stand behind the controls the PMO puts in place.3. Directive PMO

This type goes beyond control and actually “takes over” the projects by providing the project management experience AND resources to manage the project. As organizations undertake projects, professional project managers from the PMO are assigned to the projects. This injects a great deal of professionalism into the projects, and, since each of the project managers originates and reports back to the Directive PMO, it guarantees a high level of consistency of practice across all projects. This is effective in larger organizations that often matrix out support in various areas, and where this setup would fit the culture.

The best type is very specific to the organization, culture, and history of what works and what does not. But the objectives are – more or less – to:

1. Implement a common methodology

2. Standardize terminology

3. Introduce effective repeatable project management processes

4. Provide common supporting tools

5. Ultimately, the objective is to improve levels of project success within the organization.

Being aware of these types can help you and your organization more easily accomplish this.

For more informative articles around the project management field, see the PMcrunch web site. PMcrunch provides fresh perspectives on the world of project management in the areas of Certification, Online Project Management, Project Management Process, Project Management Templates, and Soft Skills.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where I went to Central Catholic High School. I excelled at football and basketball. I went to college at Princeton and earned a BS in Engineering. I then entered a career in industry, working in mining, manufacturing, metal fabricating, environmental services, and othr related industries. Along the way I earned my MBA from Carnegie Mellon. After about 12 years I made a switch into the information technology field, and became a Lotus Notes developer. I gradually moved into project management in that field. Today, I am in the project management consulting field, and have several web sites, including Project Management Training Online, Lean Six Sigma Training Online, and a growing authority site PMcrunch.com.
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