Types of PMO and the journey of maturity

It is always easier to talk about change than to make it. – Alvin Toffler

[otw_shortcode_dropcap label=”I” font=”Dancing Script” background_color_class=”otw-blue-background” size=”large” border=”border” border_color_class=”otw-silver-border” shadow=”shadow”][/otw_shortcode_dropcap]f you have read The PMO – What is this? article on this blog by Saverio Losito, you will have already seen a very good explanation of a PMO.
In this post I would like to expand as all PMO’s are not the same.
Therefore, I will describe the different types on the maturity journey.

Administrative PMO

This is the basic, starting model for many organizations.
It may sometimes be referred to as Reporting PMO or Project Support Office (PSO).
The services typically provided will be:

  • Reporting: the capture and consolidation of status reports with no or very little review
  • Report Distribution: publishing reports to appropriate stakeholders
  • RAIDs: the capture and consolidation of risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies. In fact it is highly likely that the focus will be on RAI with no dependencies.
  • Document Storage: arranging for documents to be stored in the recognized depository.

Managerial PMO

This is the most mature type of PMO, sometime termed Pro-active.
Typically will be responsible for managing the overall change programme with the project and programme managers reporting to the PMO.
The services will include all those in the Administrative and Hybrid models plus:

  • Set pace / alignment strategy: reviewing proposed change projects to ensure that they are aligned to overall strategy.
  • Own Resources: project resources owned and report to the PMO meaning a high level of ownership in respect of outcomes.
  • Set and drive project management standards: ensures consistency and drives maturity in the organization.


Hybrid PMO

This covers the PMO’s between Administrative and Managerial.
This can be a wide group as some may be taking the first steps above basic reporting or getting ready to take on ownership of the project managers.
For example, helping to define and facilitate the capture and management of cross project / programme dependencies would be a typical service – adding the “D” to RAIDs mentioned in the Administrative example.

Journey of Maturity

The good news is that there is a natural path of maturity regardless of what type of PMO you implement at the start of the journey.
It is quite feasible to set up very simple reporting, then introduce consolidation, basic review, etc.
Each step is a move up the maturity curve, meaning the PMO is providing more value.
Having an understanding of the different types of PMO, provides a helpful frame of reference for the journey of maturity.
It means you can map out the services you intend to add to move up the curve.
The diagram below provides a good illustration of the service offerings that can be added as the PMO matures (note this is an illustration not an exhaustive list of services).

Define PMO

Define PMO

In summary

There is no single type of PMO. They can be grouped and considered by their maturity: Administrative (reporting through Hybrid to
A PMO can start anywhere on the maturity curve based on the experience of both the resources and the organization.
A PMO should then strive to deliver more value by developing the service offerings.


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