Selecting the right project management office (PMO) style for your business will impact on its character, processes, and outcomes. In our series exploring the many types of office you can pick, here we’ll try to answer the question – does a delivery PMO work for your business?

A delivery PMO fulfils a range of tasks that are also covered by other PMO styles. It’s not as common a way to describe an office, but once you understand the functions it may be very fitting for what your PMO does each day.

To help you determine whether you want your new or reorganised PMO to be a delivery-based office, we’re going to look at:

  • The functions you can assign to a delivery PMO
  • What success looks like for a delivery PMO
  • The use cases for this PMO type

What does a delivery PMO do?

A delivery PMO’s task is to ensure effective delivery of projects assigned to the office. In this PMO, that’s achieved through offering support and empowering individual project managers.

With the focus being on delivery, you can expect the work of this PMO to be all about the outcomes of projects. This means that the planning of projects and controlling elements such as budgets, timeframes, and milestones are important.

There will be data produced by a delivery PMO. The reports will be there to support project managers in their decisions, spot when a project may be off-track for delivering on targets, and identify trends that can be built into repeatable practices. The reports are part of the process rather than the end result.

A key feature of delivery PMOs is the role of project managers. Unlike a directive PMO, which assigns project managers to each project and manages them directly, with a delivery PMO managers have a high level of autonomy.

Although there will be a framework to work within, project managers can be expected to:

  • Make their own decisions for the best outcome of the project
  • Resolve problems as they arise
  • Turning to the PMO for resources rather than for guidance on management

The PMO is there to support projects through building repeatable processes and collecting data to set out best practices. The culture in a delivery PMO will be results-focussed.

What results can be expected from a delivery PMO?

A project has many factors that go into its delivery. Although completing all the tasks as planned is the easiest way to look at project results, how well the tasks have been executed is as important.

A delivery PMO is there to ensure that a project is delivered in line with the strategic goals of your organisation. This can mean identifying ways to adapt projects as they work through their plan and revising the targets as the lifecycle develops.

Success in a delivery PMO is about making improvements for the business rather than just hitting milestones. Projects need to be adding value; if there isn’t going to be a positive outcome on the business strategy the office should be changing projects to reach that aim.

When should I be using a delivery PMO in my business?

A delivery PMO is a hybrid between a reporting PMO and a proactive PMO. There will be reports produced to monitor finances, adherence to schedules, and other success metrics, but it’s not the data that’s important.

A delivery PMO is there to find ways to make projects run better. When you have a lot of projects coming in on time and on budget, yet the business isn’t seeing a change in the bottom line, it may time to restructure to a delivery PMO.

When you have a strong team of project managers, a delivery PMO works to provide them with the tools they need. This can be in the form of data and information about overall performance, as well as training and other tools to get a project delivered successfully.

The take home

Does a delivery PMO work for your business? Setting your project office up to be a delivery PMO works when you have great managers that need support to get their results.

The office will have very little direct control of projects, but will be able to support them with frameworks and templates and offer training where needed. Your delivery PMO will analyse the data it produces to ensure projects are better aligned with the business’ strategic goals.