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Which Type of Project Management Organization Is Right For You?
By Daiv Russell

Three main categories of Project Management Offices, or PMO, exist. These vary in the amount of control, as well as the influence, they possess over projects in the company. Determining which kind of is required is essential to a successful project office.

These three kinds are:

1. Supportive Project Management Office

This type typically offers support when needed. Some types of offered expertise include information access, best practice advice, useful templates, and other project advice. This style can be effective when used in organizations that permit workers to accomplish projects successfully with a large amount of freedom in the design process. In addition, if the object requires some manner of information clearinghouse that can be freely accessed throughout the organization, this is the right style to use.

2. Controlling Project Management Office

This style is best used when there is a need for more control over project activities, procedures, or documentation. The organization offers support, and also demands that this support be utilized. Some possible requirements are using specific methods to achieve results, or using certain forms or templates. Other requirements might include adherence to authoritative structures or the use of other rules applied by the organization.

Furthermore, the project offices may be required to pass regular inspections by the organization, which may entail risk to the project. This method only works if two conditions are met. First, compliance with PMO offerings must effect organizational improvements and project execution. Secondly, the Project Manager must be able and willing to enforce the controls placed by this organization.

3. Directive Project Management Office

This style not only controls, but totally implements the projects of the host organization. This is accomplished by providing the project with both management experience and those resources that are necessary to manage it. Expert project managers from a directive organizational format receive project assignments when the company begins the project. This results in a high level of professional expertise. In addition, since all managers report directly to the organization, practice in all of the projects undertaken by the organization is very consistent. This type can be most useful in big companies that use supportive networks in many areas. The business culture must also be amenable to such a style.

The most useful type is determined primarily by the culture and structure of the organization, as well as the company’s prior history of success or failure with each style. Overall, however, the objectives of a Project Management Office include:

  1. Develop consistent methodologies
  2. Use standard terminologies throughout the organization
  3. Implement project management methods that are effective and replicable
  4. Offer common tools for support
  5. The ultimate goal is to increase the success rate for all projects within the organization.

Understanding these objectives assists both you and your business to better achieve them.

Daiv Russell is a marketing and management consultant with Envision Consulting in Tampa, Florida. Consult these resources to learn more about Gantt Diagrams, Pert Charting, and Project Management Software.

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