The focus should be on making the PMO an integral part of the organisation and not a distinct department or stand-alone operation. The PMO should be supporting Project and Programme managers on a daily basis, developing project management tools, templates and checklists. The PMO should also help Project Managers to monitor and evaluate their projects through performance and risk logs.
However PMO delivery is also concerned with a wider and often more strategic area such as creating a more effective and consistent project methodology. Additional benefits could be more effective planning of resources, higher quality project management information and a more transparent and joined up approach to organisation decision making.
A key issue with a PMO within any organisation is how the PMO is both resourced and how its role is communicated by Senior Management. An organisation will often set up a PMO as a ‘nice to have’ but will not give the PMO the adequate resources or the direction to fulfil its functions. PMO’s should not been seen as a purely supportive or administrative function but they have a unique role, sitting across a range of projects and organisational functions and can often be the only source for Senior Management to understand the overall success or failure of an organisations project delivery.
When you are assessing the value of a PMO it is largely dependent on the impact it has in the decision making progress and is different from organisation to organisation. PMO’s can often have no impact on an organisation and are there to fulfil administration functions, however other PMO’s can have a overbearing influence on an organisation often stopping Project Managers creativity and fulfilling the delivery of projects. The reality is that PMO’s should have a clearly defined and supported role in an organisation and this should be communicated to the whole organisation by Senior Management. As with many things in life, the effort you put into your PMO you will get out.