What is the role of a project management office (PMO)?

Kirstin Miller

A Project Management Office or PMO is a specific department within an organization that is responsible for maintaining the standards of project management within that organization. The role of project management office (PMO) in organizations vary based on the type of organization and projects that needs to be implemented or delivered. The most common domain of work or role of PMO includes the following:

Project support

The first and foremost role of PMO is to provide necessary project management support in the form of guidance to project managers of an organization. PMO is also responsible for coaching new project managers on various ways an organization can run projects.

Project management process

This is the most important area and the primary role of the PMO is to ensure development and implementation of consistent as well as standardized business processes. As a part of the project management process, PMO helps in creating a common set of principles, practices, and templates for managing various organizational projects. Standardization refers to ease of movement for manager between different or multiple projects as well as quick learning curve of new project managers. Through creation of project management templates, the use of standard components or principles for multiple projects is ensured and this, in turn, saves both time and money for any organization.

Data gathering

The PMO is responsible for gathering of relevant project data and has to produce information to be presented for review by the management. Based on updates by project managers related to a single or multiple projects, the PMO will be responsible for tracking the overall status of those projects. They will assist in standardization of the compilation of information and ways of reporting the same to the management.

Portfolio management

If an organization has already implemented project portfolio management (PPM), it is the responsibility of the PMO to manage and facilitate the entire process. The responsibilities will include:

  • Managing resource forecast or creating a resource capacity plan. This will help in understanding the availability of various resources for organizational projects
  • Enable capture of project requests and ensure each of those requests have enough relevant information that can aid in the assessment of that project
  • Maintaining an updated status of projects that are underway and those that have requests pending review
  • Implement prioritization and scoring models for better assessment of the requests that should be approved

Learn about other project management concepts in the Project Management Glossary.