2.2 Types of PMO
There are different ways to classify a PMO. This section uses generic classifications depending on the level to which the PMO is responsible for the development of the project management function within the organisation.
Basic PMO or PSO
The basic PMO, which might be called a Project Support Office (PSO), provides basic administrative support to the project manager. It has no responsibility for development of the project management function. In the basic PMO or PSO the stress is on support and the responsibilities are of a lower order than for a PMO where the emphasis is on the management of the project. In the latter case the responsibilities are more stringent and managerial than pure support. It is important that the responsibilities of the PMO or PSO of any type are defined by the organisation and are clear and unambiguous.
A basic PMO typically exists for a specific project and is likely to undertake, for example:
- administration of the record keeping, such as filing and change management of project documents
- general communication with the project team
- less high profile, administrative tasks such as meeting and travel arrangements.
The intermediate PMO has some responsibility for the development of the project management function within the organisation. It needs to maintain and promulgate the processes, procedures and other mechanisms to enable the operation of common standards of project management within all projects undertaken by the organisation. This includes use of standard tools, and possibly specialist tools, existing within the organisation to facilitate the monitoring, control and status reporting of projects: scheduling, financial, risk management, document management, status recording and governance, for example.
An advanced PMO may have wide-ranging responsibilities for the setting up and development of the project management function within the organisation. In this case the PMO will lead on the design, and develop, implement, operate, maintain and communicate the processes, procedures and other mechanisms needed to enable the operation of common standards of project management within all projects undertaken by the organisation. This includes the definition, selection, introduction, implementation and use of standards, tools, processes, procedures, modes of operation deemed necessary by and within the organisation to facilitate the monitoring, control, management and status reporting of the projects in question (e.g. scheduling, financial, risk management, document and configuration management, status recording and governance).
To enable an advanced PMO to carry out these tasks, the knowledge and skills of the PMO personnel need to be superior to those required for the basic and even intermediate PMO. The selection, education, training and continuous development of the PMO personnel required to carry out these tasks is also the responsibility of the PMO.