Your Guide to the Project Management Office (PMO)

The Project Management Office (or as it’s more commonly known, the PMO) is an organizational group that oversees and standardizes a business’s project management processes. This may include managing resources, budgets, tools, and project data to ensure they align with organizational goals. As businesses evolve, however, the role of the PMO has become so nuanced that its function can seem like a mystery. This guide offers an in-depth look how a PMO works, different types of PMOs, common PMO performance metrics, and how an enterprise PMO (EPMO) software can help make life easier for the entire organization.  

Different Types of PMO: How (and Why) to Implement Each

Now that we’re better acquainted with the PMO and its business advantages, you’re probably wondering how to establish one. First, you’ll need to identify which types of PMOs are best suited to your organization.

A Look at Common Types of PMOs

• Domain/Departmental PMO

Domain PMOs support and manage project activity at the level of a specific function, region, or business unit. They provide localized management of key projects and resources. They may also be created to pursue a specific objective or capability or to support the development of a specific product.

• Enterprise PMO Structure:

Enterprise PMOs are very mature project management offices that oversee an entire organization’s workflow and project portfolios.

• Individual PMO:

This type of PMO is designed to provide functional support to one large and/or complex project or program. These project-specific PMOs facilitate projects or programs on a case-by-case basis.

• Controlling PMO:

Controlling PMOs help provide access to standardized processes, documentation, metrics, and methodologies. This process-driven type of PMO will introduce more consistency in project activity and management.

• Directive PMO:

Directive PMOs take a hands-on approach to project management. This project delivery PMO has retained a tactical focus and typically concentrates on project activity planning and monitoring with a result-oriented approach.

• Supportive PMO:

The supportive PMO veers away from control and monitoring to embrace a more enabling approach to project management. It provides little control over project activity. Instead, it focuses on supplying best practices, training, documentation, and templates. It often consolidates these resources into a shared repository for institutional knowledge.

Agile PMO vs. Traditional PMO vs. Bimodal PMO

Traditionally, the PMO is a centralized department in charge of supervising and managing project-related activities. It focuses on the PPM process and ensures that projects are finished on schedule, within budget, and on scope.


As opposed to the traditional PMO, an Agile PMO leverages Agile processes and methods to optimize the efficiency of PPM. Designed to be more flexible than a regular PMO, it makes PPM more adaptive to respond to unforeseen circumstances.


Agile PMO structures will select and implement an Agile framework and coach project teams to teach them how to work faster, how to deliver more customer value, and how to embrace new technologies and new ways of working.


Last but not least, Agile PMOs enable organizations to nurture a culture of collaboration and innovation for sustainable success.


It’s even possible to make traditional and Agile coexist by incorporating some Agile aspects into a regular PMO. This hybrid (or “bimodal”) type of PMO might be the best approach for organizations looking to transition to Agile.


Regardless of the type of PMO you choose, your decision should be documented and supported by a solid rationale. The best way to secure buy-in for the creation of a PMO is to build a business case to convince decision-makers. 

Setting Up a PMO

There is no standard recipe for the creation of a PMO, but following a structured approach can guide you.


A good starting point is to identify the PPM processes, practices, and tools currently in place in your organization. In observing ongoing projects, you need to understand who is working on what, who is managing what, and how the various stakeholders interact.


When you have a good picture of what is in place, you can assess effectiveness and scan for weaknesses. The goal is to draw up a comprehensive list of detailed requirements to help you define what your ideal project management office might look like.


Next, use your brainstormed information to answer a series of key questions that will help you determine your next best steps:

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