How to set up a successful PMO for your Business

Organizations, especially which manage and run multiple projects, need to control these projects and ensure their success. This was the reason for establishing what so-called Project Management Office (PMO). With an increasing number of projects, PMO comes as a vital tool to handle all these projects successfully at the same time. It is responsible for the different aspects involved in project management and the methodologies used as well as maintaining quality, and customer care. So, what does PMO exactly mean?

What is PMO?

According to the PMI, PMO is defined as:” an organizational structure that may be used to standardize the portfolio, program, or project-related governance processes and facilitate the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques.”

So basically, a PMO is considered the key for organizations to run and manage their projects successfully and ensure that they meet the project goals on time and within the budget.

What are the benefits of building a PMO in your organization?

There are so many benefits for having a PMO in an organization including the following:

  • Improve the overall project success rate.
  • Improve transparency, communication, and reporting.
  • Align projects with business strategy.
  • Implement the international standard practices.
  • keep projects on track and alert you for any threats.
  • Manage the shared resources.
  • Create knowledge database for the lessons learned.
  • Define common standards for departments to follow.

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

After knowing the definition and benefits of having a PMO in an organization, it is now the time for setting up your PMO. In fact, you have to understand that it’s going to be a long process and not easy as well. But step by step you can get all things done in a great way.

Steps for establishing a PMO:

  • Conduct an assessment and evaluation for the current situation.
  • Develop the Implementation Plan according to your assessment.
  • Establish the PMO: including structure, methodologies and tools.
  • Operate the PMO: including acquiring resources, capability development, management and continuous improvements, etc.

Let us talk about each one in details:

1- Conduct an assessment and evaluation for the current situation

Performing the assessment is crucial when it comes to setting up a PMO. In this step, you analyze and evaluate the current situation by checking any sign of weaknesses in the project management methodologies, processes, and tools.

In addition, you have to understand the goals and objectives of setting a PMO to ensure setting it up successfully. It helps you to clearly identify what things need to be enhanced and achieved.

Based on the assessment, start setting your desired future state for project management. subsequently, perform gap analysis between the current state and future state.

After performing the assessment, you will be able to choose the right PMO model to be implemented in your organization. In this regard, there are 3 well-known types of PMOs according to PMI standards:

    • Supportive
    • Directive
    • Controlling

For more information about the 3 types of PMO, read this article from here.

2- Develop the Implementation Plan according to your assessment.

Now, after the assessment, you have a vision about the future state, the goals and objectives of the PMO and the methodologies, processes and tools that need to be implemented or improved.

So, in consonance with these findings, start planning to do the following:

a- Develop PMO Structure and Job Descriptions.

b- Develop PMO Manual: including policies, processes and KPIs.

c- Develop PMO Templates.

3- Establish the PMO: including structure, methodologies and tools.

In this step, you will execute the plan and establish the PMO. The PMO structure is ready, roles are defined, and the processes, policies and procedures are approved and what left is the execution.

To execute the PMO, you have to do the following:

1) Pilot the PMO

    • Identify pilot projects.
    • Launch PMO pilot.
    • Document lessons learned.

2) Operate the PMO

    • Implement communication plan.
    • Implement change management plan.
    • Implement governance reporting for all project.
    • Implement PMO orientation for other PMO stakeholders.
    • Plan, track and manage resources.
    • Collect metrics and performance measures.
    • Create end of stage report.

We are going to talk about Project Management Office Tools in details later on this article.

4- Operate the PMO: including acquiring resources, capability development, management and continuous improvements, etc.

You should do a regular review on the PMO processes in order to find the gaps that need to be filled. You find these gaps during the implementation process. With every review, plan, and implementation your PMO grows by the enhancement process.

The enhancement and improvement process includes:

    • Align organizational objectives and rewards system.
    • Implementing continuous quality improvement program.
    • Review key learning’s to derive best practices.
    • Implement PMO process tuning to improve PM maturity.
    • Introduce more sophisticated common processes and techniques.
    • Produce periodical PMO report on issues and metrics for PMO steering committee.

Read more: How to Determine The Success Of Your PMO

Essential PMO Tools

Using PMO tools can assist project leaders in administering the business and the individuals with different assigned tasks. Moreover, it provides the chance to monitor projects’ progress and its flow in the organizations that run many tasks across the region.

Here are some widespread tools used in PMOs:

  • Microsoft EPM

EPM stands for Enterprise Performance Management. Microsoft EPM software helps organizations to align their business strategies directly with the execution of their business plan.

Microsoft EPM software is a solid project management tool that is distinguished with its usability, power, and flexibility to manage projects in a more efficient and effective way.

Microsoft EPM is used also to manage your organization’s resources and to provide your organization with the required team collaboration.

With Microsoft EPM, all parties involved in any managed project stay informed, control their projects’ workflow, schedules and finances, and yield higher productivity.

Because Microsoft EPM has a powerful reporting options, it enables organizations to analyze, manage, and report projects information. Additionally, it increases visibility and insight across the organization’s projects.


  • Primavera

It is one of the great project management office software. Primavera is used for project management, scheduling, risk analysis, opportunity management, resource management, collaboration and control capabilities.

Primavera tool is considered suitable to manage any project size or type.  It is a powerful, easy to use solution for planning, managing and executing projects and programs.


Read more: PMO Tools Implementation


  • Jira

If you are managing Agile projects, Jira is the one of the best tools for this mission. Jira Software supports any agile project management methodology. With Jira you can plan, track, release and report.


  • Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a smart project management tool by which you can manage more than one project at the same time. Smartsheet is considered to be an easy-to-use and simple management tool that can be used by a wide range of employees regardless of their roles in the organization.

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