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Where Does Your PMO Fit?

Gartner Report: Four Types of PMOs That Deliver Value

Published By Kristyn Medeiros
Where Does Your PMO Fit?

OK, we already know there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the PMO. But does your PMO attempt to do too little or too much? Or are they hemmed in by your organization’s oversight or lack of PPM maturity?

You’ve got questions and Gartner has the answers. In their new report, “Four Types of PMOs That Deliver Value,” they take an in-depth look at the four broad styles of PMOs commonly found in most organizations. For starters, there is no standard or template for determining the right type of PMO that a PPM leader should establish.

In the report, Gartner explains why engaging the business and key PMO stakeholders is essential to ensuring your organization can deliver on your most critical targets. Once you properly design a PMO to meet your needs, then you can move beyond its functions and services. PPM leaders who embrace the best style for their organization can tailor it to support organizational needs at just the right level.

What does this look like? For starters, you must identify what you are trying to accomplish or fix by establishing the PMO. According to a Gartner survey, the main drivers for PMO formation include:

  • Improve the management of all projects – 71 percent
  • Standardize business processes – 64 percent
  • Improve delivery timeliness or quality – 63 percent

If possible, they suggest you skip the “getting started” minutiae around roles and rules – instead you should establish a PMO as a response to new opportunities or issues that need to be fixed. Gartner suggests one way to get the ball rolling is by allowing a group of leaders to reach a consensus on what the PMO should focus on or tackle first. Also, don’t overlook your PPM maturity level because your PMO’s ability to accomplish results will be limited if the foundational systems and processes are not already in place.

Now, let’s look specifically at the four types of PMOs as outlined by Gartner:

  • The Activist PMO – Found in enterprises with distributed, business-centric project ownership, the Activist PMO takes a broad view and enabling approach. They can vet business cases and project proposals while supporting decision makers by analyzing business cases for alignment and risk. In this model, the project office is a permanently staffed structure with some supervisory responsibility for most projects.
  • The Delivery PMO – Roughly 40 percent of all PMOs fall into this category – they are charged with planning and controlling the tactical execution of projects to business expectations. Their goal is to build repeatable processes and techniques that will work to build a culture focused on results.
  • The Compliance PMO Best for organizations where documentation, processes, procedures and methodologies are lacking, the Compliance PM works to establish standard practices and the development of a capability for understanding the status of key initiatives. A Compliance PMO focuses on adopting specific methodologies and templates, using specific forms and tools. This is best accomplished when they get buy-in from senior management to establish common practices for projects.
  • The Centralized PMO – This exists frequently in governmental environments that have a “federated” PMO structure. Although government agencies may operate independently, that does not eliminate higher-level governmental units from pressuring everyone to adopt the same playbook. In the Centralized PMO, representatives from the various project support organizations get together to share their practices at a best-practices council.

Take the next step in your PMO journey – download a reprint of the Gartner Report, “Four Types of PMOs That Deliver Value.” You’ll learn why it is important to clearly establish PMO roles and responsibility to keep pace with your changing organizational and business environment.

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Written by Kristyn Medeiros

Kristyn is the Commercial Americas Solutions Consulting Manager at Planview. She is a PMP certified project manager with 10+ years experience in the IT industry, leading teams under adverse and changing conditions. She is experienced in business analysis, problem solving techniques, and customer focus.