In most organisations the PMO has five main responsibilities:
Set standards for how projects are run
The PMO builds up a common set of practices, principles and templates for managing projects. Standardisation means project managers can move more easily between different projects and new project managers get up to speed faster. Creating project management templates means standard components can be reused which saves time and money as they are not created for each project fresh.
Ensure project management standards are followed
While the PMO sets project management standards, it also must ensure they are followed by performing regular assessments of projects. This process can feedback into the standards definition.
Gathering of project data and production of information for management review
The PMO will track the status of all projects in the organisation based on updates from the project managers. They will standardise the way this information is compiled and reported to management. The normal way to present the information is using project dashboards which provide a clear way to keep track of the status of projects.
Source of guidance and advice for project managers
Most PMO’s develop into a centre of excellence for project management and can provide guidance and coaching to novice project managers or new project managers who need to understand how the organisation runs projects. In many organisations we work with, the people running projects are not always formally trained project managers and the PMO plays a key role in assisting this group.
For organisations that have implemented a project portfolio management approach (PPM), the PMO manages and facilitates this process. This can include:
- Capturing project requests and ensuring each request has sufficient information to assess the project.
- Keeping an up-to-date repository of projects underway and requests pending review.
- Implementing scoring and prioritisation models to help assess which requests should be approved.
- Managing a resource capacity plan or resource forecast to help understand resource availability for projects.