Project management office

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A project management office, abbreviated to PMO, is a group or department within a business, agency or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance and metrics on the practice of project management and execution. In some organizations this is known as the program management office (sometimes abbreviated to PgMO to differentiate); the subtle difference is that program management relates to governing the management of several related projects.

Traditional PMOs base project management principles on industry-standard methodologies such as PRINCE2 or guidelines such as PMBOK.


According to the Standish CHAOS Report (2009),[1] 68% of software projects do not meet time/cost/scope targets. Only 32% of projects were completed on time, within budget and delivered measurable business and stakeholder benefits.

There are many reasons for such failures. As per a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey [2] of 1,524 organizations, inadequate project estimating and planning constitutes 30% of project failures, lack of executive sponsorship constitutes 16% and poorly defined goals and objectives constitutes 12%. It also found that using established project management approaches increased success as measured by a project's key performance indicators of quality, scope, schedule, budgets and benefits. The survey indicates that operating an established PMO is one of the top three reasons that drives successful project delivery.[2]


PMOs may take other functions beyond standards and methodology, and participate in Strategic project management either as facilitator or actively as owner of the Portfolio Management process. Tasks[3] may include monitoring and reporting on active projects and portfolios (following up project until completion), and reporting progress to top management for strategic decisions on what projects to continue or cancel.

The degree of control and influence that PMOs have on projects depend on the type of PMO structure within the enterprise; it can be:

  • Supportive, with a consultative role

  • Controlling, by requiring compliance for example
  • Directive, by taking control and managing the projects


A PMO can be one of three types from an organizational exposure perspective:

  • enterprise PMO,
  • organizational (departmental) PMO, or
  • special–purpose PMO.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) Program Management Office Community of Practice (CoP), describes the PMO as a strategic driver for organizational excellence, which seeks to enhance the practices of execution management, organizational governance, and strategic change leadership.[4]

See also[edit]