A project management office (also called PMO), is an office or department within an organization that defines and maintains project management standards. PMO provides direction and standards in project implementation. If you are a small organization, you may be able to manage without PMO, but if your organization is managing cross-functional projects at the same time, it likely needs one!

PMO plays many roles internally for an organization, but this varies from one company to another and depends on the size of the organization, the scope of projects, and the size of the projects being managed. Successful PMO management is a combination of good people, processes, and tools. Aside from just managing project portfolios, here are the other benefits it provides:

Strategic Planning and Governance

This is the most important job in PMO. By scoring projects using predefined criteria, the strategic selection of potential projects can be made in accordance with the business objectives of the organization. The PMO then advises senior management or C-level leaders to select the candidate projects that best match the company's strategic goals, by presenting a sound business case and a clear cost/benefit ratio.

The project management office (PMO) establishes the policies, regulations, processes, and procedures that establish and control projects or program and portfolio management in relation to project management.

Best Practices and Process

PMOs implement and standardize best practices and processes within the organization, and standardize the process across all departments. The project management office can implement a repeatable project delivery process so that organizations can easily manage and deliver projects. The department also provides consistent project management guidance, methods, systems, tools, and measures for consistent project results across the organization. This works to maintain consistency between project managers who work on several projects, across different departments and divisions.

A Common Language, Culture and Mentality

The Project Management Office (PMO) assists in spreading the common project culture and mindset by informing, communicating with and training employees on various technologies, methodologies and best practices in the industry. This sustains joint project development by defining metrics and KPIs so that everyone is on the same wavelength in the project. In this way, project management is coordinated and effective across the entire organization. In short, they act as project management heroes for the company.

Resource Management

PMOs also manage and allocate resources effectively in all projects by managing priorities based on schedules, budgets, resource loads and if analysis information and accordingly providing the right resources, at the right time. It also defines the roles and responsibilities required in any given project.

PMOs train, direct and coach employees in general and project managers in particular. They organize regular workshops and training programs on project management to keep employees updated.

Create and Maintain Project Artifacts, Archives and Tool Sets

The Project Management Office provides templates, tools, and software for managing project efforts. They invest in project management tools that pay off in ensuring reliable data, which allows early insight into project performance for better decision making.

PMOs also play an important role in organizational memory. Once the project is completed or canceled, they archive all project documents created during the project into a document repository. This is very helpful for future reference, especially for lessons learned.

As we can see, the role of the Project Management Office (PMO) is far-reaching and affects many departments within large companies that have large amounts of cross-functional projects to manage. Ultimately, they are there to keep everyone working in the same direction toward the overall goals of the company.