Center of Excellence (CoE) in PMO

Projects are everywhere. Some are successful, some fail. In retrospect, most have had some room for improvement. Even experienced project managers and project teams need assistance from time to time. A Project Management Center of Excellence is a proven organizational resource that ensures better performance through consistent processes, intellectual capital, tools and hands-on support.

What is project management office PMO

It is the craft guild of master practitioners who lead, mentor and inspire the apprentices and journeyman. PMO can provide assistance (i.e., training, coaching, and mentoring) in using standard project management practices to achieve results. However, it is the gatekeeper and the steward of project governance.

The PMO provides project governance structures that involve both the project and the functional organizations. ‘Governance’ is a layer of control over the project that is exercised by, or on behalf, of the people who are paying for the project. It is usually at a higher level in the organization than the level of detailed operational control. It can involve the project sponsor, the project director and/or an advisory board or steering group, in addition to the project manager and core members of the project team.

What is a Center of Excellence ''CoE''

Centers of Excellence consist of units based at research institutions (the vast majority at universities) sharing a common idea or vision and an overall and clearly defined set of research objectives.

There is no fixed formula for creating a CoE. The centers may differ in size and mode of organization, depending on their subject and scope. Some centers become rather large during the grant period, employing more than 60 people divided into several research teams, while others have fewer than 15 members. The center must have a well-defined framework for cooperation.

Why Creating Centers of Excellence

As matter of fact, when governance, a support structure, guidance, measurements and shared learning exists across an organization, success is far more likely. Success will support organizational and specific projects goals. A need to gain results should be the primary motivation for creating any center of excellence. Or stated another way, the motivation/need for and expected results from a center of excellence should be well thought out and articulated unambiguously to server as the foundation for the creation of any center of excellence. Without this, it cannot be successful.

How to build your team and organize your PM-CoE

Briefly, the team needs to avoid becoming residents of an “Ivory Tower.” The team should be built from within the Project Management organization and high performing Project Managers should rotate onto the team and / or serve on a PM-CoE advisory panel. Additionally, high performing Project Managers should be called upon to review PM-CoE deliverables and to co-teach PM-related courses.

Team size is an issue. Ideally the core team should be no more than seven people – I pick this number because it is small enough still to allow everyone to feel ownership and responsibility, small enough for cohesive communication – we can all sit around a lunch table together; yet large enough for a bit of specialization and to bring in varied points of view. In addition to the core team, we need to look at the PM-CoE support functions. The size of the support component is governed by the size of the overall project management organization, number of and diversity of projects, etc. Support functions include, training and mentoring, a how-to hotline, project status monitoring, managing functional specialists and the like. A large or geographically diverse organization may require an accompanying large or dispersed support infrastructure. Nonetheless, the PM-CoE should not be in the empire-building mode.

Develop PM-CoE action plans and continuously monitor your performance

Apropos, building the PM-CoE is itself a project. An action-oriented project plan with specific short-term, mid-term and long-term objectives needs to be built. The PM-CoE’s performance should be managed accordingly. A most important, must-do action the PM-CoE is to continuously ask its stakeholders, “How are we doing?” This reflection of customer satisfaction coupled with formal measurement will help keep the PM-CoE on track addressing real opportunities in the project management space.

It should be clear by now that the PM-CoE focuses on process. Continuous Process Improvement should be an integral part of the PM-CoE. Hopefully, this is “preaching to the choir.”

  Centre of Excellence (CoE) functions or services:

1- Development of standard methods and processes.

2- Development consistent working practices.

3- Single source of standards and ensuring they are deployed appropriately and well.

4- Capability support (training and coaching).


Bakkah is a leading company in the field of PMOs management. To know more about the importance of PMOs, we advise you to read the following articles:


Bakkah team for training and consulting

Related Articles

Application of PMO in government entities in Saudi Arabia

Institutions usually face the similar difficulties in managing projects, those d...

Read More

10 reasons behind the need for establishing a project management office (PMO)

Projects and programs are becoming more complicated than before, and that's beca...

Read More

Types of Project Management Offices (PMO) based on PMI standards

Every one of us feels very excited to work on his first project, but when he get...

Read More

Center of Excellence (CoE) in PMO

Projects are everywhere. Some are successful, some fail. In retrospect, most hav...

Read More

How Can You Recreate Your Business Using the Change Management Process?

We are living in a world that is going through constant changes, therefore, we c...

Read More

What’s P3M3? What are the benefits for organizations?

Definition of P3M3 P3M3 (Portfolio, Program and Project Management Maturity Mod...

Read More

PMO tools Implementation

Business Growth requires the need for a clear communication and task management....

Read More

PMO Advisory

The expansion of companies and the never-ending change in business demands have ...

Read More

Portfolio Management Office Setup

Many local and international institutions have realized the key role projects pl...

Read More

How to determine the success of your PMO

Many organizations have identified a need to formalize the practice of project m...

Read More

How to set up a successful Project Management Office (PMO)?

Organizations, especially which manage and run multiple projects, need to contro...

Read More

How Information Systems Can Help Your Business Grow

Running a successful business requires high-quality information systems to proce...

Read More

The Differences between Project, Program, and Portfolio Management

To the layperson, it may seem like splitting hairs when considering program mana...

Read More

Top PMO Challenges and How to Resolve Them

Project management offices (PMO) regularly grapple with challenges that hinder c...

Read More

5 Major Roles PMO Plays within an Organization

A project management office (also called PMO), is an office or department within...

Read More