Define a programme management office

After you are happy with the PMO mission, PMO vision and PMO design principles, you are now ready to define the program management office, with a level of confidence that it will be aligned to the overall objectives for the organisation.

What type of PMO?

As a PMO should be defined to support a particular organisation, while there will be core functionality, each PMO will look at behave differently.  This is further compounded due to the fact that PMO’s will be at different levels of maturity.

The PMO Maturity model defines 6 levels of maturity as:

  • Level 0 – Nonexistent / ad-hoc
  • Level 1 – Initial / reactive
  • Level 2 – Developing / emerging discipline
  • Level 3 – Defined / initial integration
  • Level 4 – Managed / increasing integration
  • Level 5 – Optimised / enterprise orientation

As the level of maturity increases so does the value added by the PMO.

However, the maturity model does not really provide specific guidance on defining the PMO you want to build.  What it can be used for is to evaluate, based on the mission and vision statements, where your PMO needs to be based on the current level of maturity.  Knowing this will help define that needs to be addresses and / or constructed.

Easier PMO Model

I take a simpler view on the definition of a PMO, namely to split into 3 distinct categories:

In some cases, the mission and vision statement may only require an Administrative Reporting PMO and there is no need to invest moving towards a Managerial PMO.  This does not stop the PMO becoming a highly valued function that moves up the maturity curve.

Diagram showing PMO maturity

Having a clear view of the objectives of the PMO will help to define what type of PMO you need / wish to build.  This in turn will allow you to work out what functions and activities need to be included.  This should be documented and then shared and agreed with stakeholders to make sure that it is aligned to their objectives and, probably more importantly, their expectations.

In Summary

Use the mission, vision and design principles to define the PMO you need to construct.  Be mindful of the PMO Maturity Model with the main focus on building a PMO that works for your organisation.  Then look to improve the chosen model as required.