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PMO Organization Models

Early on in PMO history, the Gartner Group identified three PMO models as

  • Project Repository Model ( a low or no value model)
  • Project Coach Model (a tactical model that can provide some value for short time)
  • Enterprise PMO model (a strategic model oriented to central control of all major projects)

There is also a fourth model as

  • Deliver Value Now Model ( a high value strategic model focused on throughput, delivery acceleration and choosing the right projects)

A) Project Repository Model

Serves as a source of information on project methodology and standards. The model assumes the enterprise has embraced a cohesive set of tools for project design, management and reporting. If the PMO becomes perceived as a “tool providing a solution”, the need for the “tool” will diminish over time for various reasons and PMO with it.

B) Project Coach Model

Provides training, mentoring and other help to project managers. In this model, the PMO is far removed from the executive level and will eventually be seen as unnecessary overhead.

C) Enterprise PMO model

Takes over the project management direction and function. The centralized approach usually brings discipline and standardization to project management across the organization. It also brings resistance from functional areas that feel like they have lost control.

D) Deliver Value Now Model (Recommended)

Is a holistic approach. It provides focus on the total project portfolio, linked to the organization goals and assets. It is launched with full executive support. It takes a consultative approach to win over teams and functional managers.

By focusing on the needs of PMO customers as the primary priority, PMO field demands will begin to rise. This will make the beginning of the PMO opportunity it help the organization’s executive meet the goals.


PMOs fail because they do not set out their mission as providing measurable value to their universe of customers. Each and every project manager must see the PMO as a trusted group who is helping them to meet their goals. Functional managers at all levels must  see the PMO as helping resolve resource conflicts and other crisis and getting the project work done faster and better. PMOs that report too low in the organization or PMOs that have an imbalanced steering committee often their focus on timesheets, methodology and other efforts that fail to drive value within the first 60 days.  In short value means completing more projects in less time year after year that contribute directly to the organizations goals. Value means continual improvement in predictability for three parameters-on time, on budget and within scope.

Many technically competent project management offices (PMOs) fail to maximize the value they can provide to their host organizations. Such PMOs-because they often focus only on technology, data, and processes-usually lack effective approaches for engaging stakeholders and managing these relationships. This article examines how organizations can transform their PMOs into components that translate business strategy into competitive advantages as a result of effective stakeholder relationships. In doing so, it discusses the nature and structure of PMOs in relation to supporting an organization’s pursuit of its strategic goals.

Although establishing and operating a project management office (PMO) demands specialized skills and expertise, it is an organization’s maturity level that most significantly impacts its capacity to establish a PMO which enables its project managers to achieve the professional excellence and success executives and clients desire.

The act of collaborating is both an art and a science, one that begins with shared trust and thrives through delegated authority. And yet historically, many companies have isolated their project managers, leaving them to practice without the support and authority they needed to implement projects, to maintain best practices, and to leverage team performance to achieve better results and to accomplish desired outcomes.

The traditional program management office continues to serve the organization well in the planning, tracking, and oversight role of these projects. Act while the opportunity is available! The lesson “late to market is loss of market share” has been well learned. As a result, the focus at the executive level is shifting from “do projects right” to “do projects right now”. This is a perilous attitude. Project mismanagement and an inability to transform the organization will lead to failure. “Do the right project RIGHT” must be the mindset of today’s corporate executive. But in the project management environment, these functions appear to play a more crucial role in realizing the business vision.

Project offices are typically established to formalize and standardize practices, processes and operations; standardized procedures should lead to consistent, repeatable results, and a greater probability of successful projects.

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