Options for outsourcing a PMO

How to Outsource a PMO: Your Options and Which Will Suit Your Business

After understanding the business case for outsourcing your project management office (PMO), you need to decide how to make it work. Once you’ve understood the risks involved, its’ time to figure out how to outsource your PMO based on your business needs.

In general, you have four overarching questions that you need to answer before you start your search for a PMO contracting company. We’re going to explore the options you have, looking at:

  • The elements of your PMO that you can outsource
  • When working with independent contractors is the right choice
  • When you should look at working with an outsourcing enterprise

Helping you be ready for the next step of your PMO outsourcing journey.

How much of a PMO should be outsourced?

There are a whole host of PMO functions that can be outsourced; you can even outsource the whole office and have another business provide governance for your projects.

With that, you have two options when outsourcing your PMO:

  1. Fully outsource the office and all of its functions to an outside supplier
  2. Partially outsource some tasks and maintain some elements of an internal office

Each option can play a valuable role in your business, so let’s explore when you’d use them.

When to fully outsource your PMO

There are lots of businesses that need to run projects to support their function but don’t actually deliver their end product or service through projects. As the small project begins to grow, it can make sense to develop a PMO to ensure compliance and governance standards.

However, when you begin to look at the work a PMO does, it may not align with your business. The skills needed and the people you’d need to hire may be divergent from your business mission, and the people in a PMO could feel constrained by a lack of career options.

When you don’t need PMO capabilities and skills as part of your core business offering, fully outsourcing PMO functions can make a lot of sense.

The timeframe that PMO functions are needed can be a big deciding factor, too. When your business takes on a large, one-off project for a client that you’re sure won’t be repeated, e.g. public works or an event, you may just want to bring people in to do the work of a PMO without dealing with the recruitment and offboarding.

When to partially outsource your PMO

Partially outsourcing your PMO can be an option when:

  • You have a short-term skill or capacity gap that you have a solid plan to resolve, such as needing project reporting completed for three months while a new team member is trained
  • You want to promote a junior PMO team member but don’t have the budget to bring in a new FTE role until the next financial year
  • You want your projects to shift focus to strategy and support and aren’t worried about admin capacity for your business in the long-run

Outsourcing your PMO to a major enterprise

You’re likely already aware of some global companies that offer outsourced business services, such as Accenture.

When you choose to partially or fully outsource your PMO activities to a corporation like this, you’ll get a menu of professional PMO services to choose from, and you can be confident they’ll be executed professionally.

However, it will lack personalisation and the people working on your PMO functions may not have a full understanding of the nuances of your industry or niche.

Outsourcing you PMO to an independent contractor

Working with a contractor, freelancer, or small agency is the other option when you choose to outsource your PMO.

You’re more likely to find this type of outsourced PMO through word of mouth and industry contacts. The people offering their services will be professionals, and you can look for people who have specific, niche knowledge of your sector.

There is more chance of continuity issues – if you’re already struggling with recruitment for PMO roles, then a small business may be facing the same issues. Scaling quickly with a small business partner may also become an issue.

How do I outsource my PMO?

Before you offer contracts out to tender, you need to ask some basic questions about how you’ll outsource your PMO. Explore your options to suit your business needs, such as how much of your office’s work will be outsourced and consider the type of partner you want to work with.