PMO is Project , Program or Portfolio Management Office

A PMO stands for any of below three terms;

Whatever your organization name, it is the same thing overall. A PMO basically consists of senior executives within the organization to serve strategic goals at the end of the day.

You need to figure out what it means to your organization.

How to differentiate then either it’s a Project, Program, or a Portfolio Management Office?

You can differentiate these based on Time Scale and Ambition within any organization.

PMO - Project, program or portfolio management office

Project Management Office

PMOs deal with short-term initiatives. The governance takes decisions up to two years periods usually. Not look beyond that period.

The services provide compliance, collation of information, and training across the project and only one initiative.

The goal is the same to help project managers to achieve the goal through good practices.

Program Management Office

A program management office deals with more than one project. The governance takes decisions up to two to five years periods, usually. Not look beyond that period.

The services it provides governance, the coordination among budget, resources, and time.

The goal is the same to help project managers and program managers achieve the goal through good practices.

Portfolio Management Office

A portfolio management office role is more strategic in nature. If applicable, the governance takes decisions up to five to ten years, usually even more than this.

The Portfolio Management Office role is highly strategic and for long-term scenarios. I looked at all the portfolio projects, making decisions to call off any project or accelerate if required.

The goals of the Portfolio Management Office are the strategic planning and high-level goal setting for any organization by coordination with all project and program managers within the organization.

PMO Project Management

A PMO is a department, or you can say an office within an organization that basically defines and maintains standards for project management within the serving organization.

Nowadays, the PMO (PMO) has proven its worth in organizations dealing with several projects simultaneously. But if the organization is small, then it is just a liability.

“At the end of the day, PMOs are in place to help organizations deliver value to their stakeholders” Brian Weiss – VP, practitioner career development of the Project Management Institute – PMI.

Why a PMO?

Every large organization has a PMO or planning to acquire shortly. In 2000, nearly 47% of the large organizations had PMO, which increased to 87% in 2012 – Surveyed by PM Solutions.

The question is why every organization is going for PMO – the answer is simple; it helps to grow & maintain the business of serving the organization.

Every organization needs to have archives of all the processes, methods, conflicts, risks register; lessons learned that help makes decisions for successful completion of projects – A PMO does that job efficiently. This dedicated department provides necessary due support to the Senior Management & Project Managers to concentrate on their jobs.

Who is in the PMO?

PMO consists of multi-skill project management executive staff. The professionals are Project/Program Manager, schedulers, planners, controllers, coordinators, etc.

This team works in an integrated way to handle PMO jobs and better interest in achieving organizational objectives.

Project Management Director – PMD is the highest authority guy in any PMO and accountable for its success or failure. PMD has authority equal to VP or any high-level functional manager.

Roles & Responsibilities | PMO

PMO (PMO) roles and responsibilities depend on the size of any organization and how many projects & programs organizations be dealing with at the very moment.

PMO tracks all the projects, programs in a bigger picture and maintains the records. PMO task structure changes from company to company. Still, the overall scenario remains the same: to ease the task of higher Management and the Project team in every possible manner.

Let’s enlist in details all the stuff PMO normally do for any organization generally;

  • Conflict Management: I put it first because it works as a mediator in the most crucial factor when managing stakeholders for the project’s better interest. Experts in PMO should be experienced enough to deal with conflict for win-win if any escalated to them. It will ease the pain of higher Management, ultimately- a big factor.
  • Project Portfolio Management: Portfolio management is the key to achieve objective cross-functional organization. It will help decide if to bid on a project or put extra resources in any project or reduce resources to optimize them on a different project. To avoid resources, conflict is the major task to be done by PMO anywhere. Tracking through project portfolio management helps to get optimal results with minimum resources.
  • Training & Coaching: PMO’s job is to check all the forecast scenarios and train their own staff rather than hiring a skilled person from outside to fill the gaps. Training should also be done on ongoing projects. Outside trainers can be hired if necessary.
  • Lesson Learned: PMO should record the lesson learned from projects throughout the project phase. Lesson Learned is a big help to make decisions for future projects and ongoing projects at any phase.
  • Tools & Techniques: PMO should decide to implement different tools, software, techniques, and standard to get homogenized results all over. This will help get transparency and reliability in data ultimately.

Benefits of a PMO?

Some benefits are already discussed in details more are here in short;

  • Aligns everyone on the same page
  • Standardized the procedures
  • Reduces pain for the project and program managers
  • Captures lesson learned in efficient manners

Wrap Up

PMO is the best for big organizations running multiple projects or programs in the long run as it helps in so many ways. But if your organization can’t afford and have very few projects, it is just a liability.


Can a PMO accelerate the implementation process?

It is said that a PMO in a company will increase the probability of project portfolio management success. This way, it ultimately helps to accelerate and dump the projects of no value.

What does PMO stand for?

PMO stands for either Project, Program, or Portfolio Management Office.

What does a PMO Do?

As stated above is serves as helping hands to an organization like

  • Governance.
  • Transparency.
  • Reusability
  • Delivery support
  • Traceability

What are the major functions of a PMO?

  • Training and Mentoring Project Team
  • Determining Projects & Portfolios Dependencies
  • Evaluation of Project & Programs at High-Level
  • High-level reports presenting to sponsor
  • Developing SOP’s
  • Implementing the standard procedures across the organization
  • Optimizing and managing resources for projects
  • Most important! Financial reporting at ROI


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