The opportunity to establish a new project management office (PMO) is a positive moment in your career that you should relish. There is a clear roadmap to create a new PMO and there are common pitfalls in a new PMO, such as issues clearly establishing roles and responsibilities.

As a PMO professional, you’ll have an understanding of the job roles that belong in your office. When you’re planning your new office, you’ll also work to establish the human resources you want and the services they will support.

This will likely be high-level work and you will need to work with your new resources when creating your office to pin down the work they will do and the value they need to add. To help you through this process, we’re going to look at:

  • What roles need to be filled within a PMO
  • What tasks your office and your team need to be responsible for
  • How to make sure you successfully define your roles and responsibilities

What are the main roles within a PMO?

Your new PMO will be different to other PMOs you’ve set up or worked in before. Every company is different, and the portfolio of projects the office manages will regularly change and adapt.

That’s to say; there is no one definitive list of roles within a new PMO. Some offices may be you and one or two administrators or analysts, others could start big with specialists and support staff included.

What is important is to plan the roles you will need based on the tasks or services your PMO will perform. Consider the reason your office is being created, what you and your PMO sponsor want to achieve, and how you can deliver value on the investment being made.

You will likely need to bring in roles such as:

  • Administrators
  • Business analysts
  • Project specialists

Depending on what you intend to do in your office.

What are the responsibilities of a PMO?

During the process of creating your PMO, you should have discussed with your sponsor and relevant stakeholders what they expect to see from you and your team. This could have been conceptual, e.g. “improve project delivery”, or more solid, e.g. “reduce project overspend”.

Whatever your office is being created to do, you will need to formulate a list of responsibilities and ways to hold your PMO accountable for them. Set targets and timelines to deliver concrete outcomes so if the role of your PMO or anyone on your team is questioned, you have data to refer to.

Once you know what your office needs to achieve, you need to set KPIs for each person in your office. If you have a target to ensure 90% of projects are delivered on time, this may translate to the person monitoring project deadlines being responsible for delivering this, as an example.

Making sure that everyone has a clear list of tasks to complete that are directly related to the outcomes they should deliver will get your PMO off on the right foot.

How can I ensure the successful setting of roles and responsibilities?

The key to having clearly defined roles and responsibilities within your PMO is knowing the same information about your office in general.

When you have a clear idea of what your PMO has been commissioned to do and how that will be measured, you can start to translate this into work and KPIs for your team.

Be sure to have clear and realistic tasks and goals for your office team. You can’t be expected to work miracles, so be sure that you manage expectations with your sponsor and the C-suite in general. Clear timelines to achieve your objectives will help keep the pressure off.            

How to establish roles and responsibilities within a PMO

Without clear roles and responsibilities, your new PMO won’t have a way to define success further down the line. Defining the roles and responsibilities within your PMO will help you avoid this common PMO pitfall.