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What is the Project Management Office?
The project management office (PMO) refers to an entity in an organization that is responsible for providing centralized & coordinated management and support for all the projects executed in the organization. The projects supported by the PMO may or may not be related to one another. The functions of the PMO depend upon the organization and its culture.
In general, a PMO is an interface between the business objectives of the organization and the projects. For example, depending on the organization, it may act as a stakeholder in projects and a key decision maker in the beginning of any project in order to ensure that the projects consistently support the business objectives of the organization. It may also be involved in selecting, prioritizing, allocating, and managing the project resources.
Simply put, the PMO can be considered as the office that manages all the project managers in the company.
The primary function of the PMO is to support project managers in multiple ways.
• Coaching - Provide coaching, training, mentoring, and oversight.
• Uniformity and consistency in standards :
o Identify and develop management methodology, best practices, and standards for the projects.
o Develop and manage procedures, policies, templates, and other documentation shared by the projects.
o Audit projects to ensure the compliance of standards, policies, procedures, and templates.
• Resource management - Manage shared resources across all the projects administered by the PMO.
• Communication - Coordinate communication across projects.
To understand the relationship between the roles of a project manager and the PMO, remember the following three things:
• Scope - A project manager focuses on the objectives of the project, whereas the PMO manages the scope at the program level and handles scope changes at the program level that may be seen as potential opportunities to meet the strategic business objectives of the organization.
• Resources - The project manager controls and manages the project resources to best meet the project objectives, whereas the PMO works to optimize the use of project resources across all the projects.
• Project aspects - The project manager handles aspects such as cost, quality, risk, and schedule specific to the individual project he/she manages, whereas the PMO manages the interdependencies among the projects and the organization-level standards, such as project management methodologies, policies, and procedures.
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