Advantage & Disadvantages of a Managing PMO model

Posted by Kevin Brady on Wed 6th February 2008 at 06:45 PM, Filed in PMO

For the Pros and Cons of other PMO models please see blogg posts Consulting PMO, Facilitative Managing PMO

This is where a PMO serves as the central governing project /programme management body driving the delivery of a programme or a group of related programmes.

The common features of a managing PMO are:

  • Support /training and encouragement of management    
  • Clearly defined PMO scope boundaries    
  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the PMO /delivery management and the end client’s stakeholders.    
  • Centralised custodian of standardised project/programme and architectural governance processes and procedures.    
  • Centralised architect for the set-up of project /programme and architectural governance processes and practices.    
  • Thought leadership behind the development and evolution of all existing and new project /programme and architectural management processes and procedures    
  • Accountability to programme/s stakeholders for the setting of direction and vision for the practice of project /programme management within a given programme of work.    
  • Provider of organisational benchmarking statistics    
  • Maintenance of project libraries and lessons learned summaries    
  • Provider of centralised reporting information to stakeholders for all programmes and projects under PMO management.    
  • Enforcement of standardised management processes and procedures through the implementation and execution of QA management processes and procedures.    
  • Management of cross dependencies between projects within a programme or between programmes of work with the authority to instruct managers to action cross dependency tasks.    
  • Provide an important business change interface    
  • Development of a strong HR relationship (my client) so that performance reviews are carried out by the senior members of the PMO e.g. the programme director etc.

Perceived benefits of such a PMO model from a supplying vendor point of view:-

  • Significant management support helps create a sense of professionalism and importance among often downtrodden project managers. Big positive cultural impact!    
  • Can exerts significant influence within the client organisation through extensive formalised stakeholder involvement leading to enhanced business development opportunities.    
  • Can ensure the adoption and execution of best practices, driving efficiency and consistency    
  • Supports the organic growth of management maturity    
  • Allows the close and formalised engagement of all key client stakeholders    
  • Helps to create a sense of a Project Management community within the client organisation leading to an increased level of respect and credibility for the management team which helped generate new business opportunities.    
  • Allows the tight use of financial accounting control i.e earned value cost and resource management.    
  • Supports the implementation of tough change control processes and procedures which can be used as a secondary income stream.    
  • Supports effective risk /issue management, bringing the end client and my client’s management into closer partnership in the event of serious issues occurring. This reduces the need for deep discounts and the offering of free work to pacify angry clients who have adopted the “blame supplier technique” for getting all issues fixed for free.    
  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all people engaged in the programme reducing the risk of effort duplication and conflict between individuals and teams.

Perceived drawbacks of implementing a Managing PMO model:-

  • The model involved a significant commitment to establish and maintain a PMO which is not always possible when skilled and capable management resource is in such short supply.
  • The set-up of a managing PMO involves often a long sales (buy-in) process with client organisations in order to ensure client participation in key PMO processes and procedures. This was found to be a real problem in terms of the cultural transition required of many clients with low management maturities.
  • Greater levels of transparency generated frequent client conflict as everyone’s performance on both sides of the fence could be checked and measured against baseline performance metrics. For some clients this could cause cultural transition issues /friction with some clients who are not unused to the glare of reality and transparency and the constraints this puts on their politcal monoverings when mistakes occur.
  • The physical amount of time needed to set-up and embed a PMO and its associated processes and procedures often take a considerable amount of time, which often did not fit with the “quick wins” culture many clients are so often looking for.
  • Some managing PMO’s take so long to set-up and are sometimes so over staffed that they deliver little of the benefit expected by the time the programme closes.


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