Ideal PMO

The ideal PMO across different settings

Whichever industry and sector your company works within, a project management office (PMO) will drive you towards success. You can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach – every PMO will be different. This begs the question, what is the ideal PMO in different settings?

It’s important to know the style of PMO to work towards. Different factors will determine where your focus is and the KPIs being measured. Here, we’ll be covering:

  • Some different settings you might find your PMO in
  • The unique characteristics of each settings in terms of your PMO
  • What business element the PMO should focus on

So that you can either set up your new PMO or audit and drive change in your existing one.

What type of business has a PMO?

Any business that runs projects can make use of a PMO. There are a whole range of different businesses and sectors that this covers, from global to micro and different ownership models.

In this series, we’re going to explore four different types of business area a PMO manages. These are:

  • Public and private sector offices
  • Local and multinational offices
  • Start-ups and corporate offices
  • Manufacturing and service industry offices

Each one will be covered in detail, but here let’s focus on an overview of different PMOs depending on the projects they manage.

What does a PMO look like across different settings?

There are as many PMO types as there are PMOs. You will, however find some broad similarities between sectors that are very different to opposing business models or set-ups.

Public and private sector PMOs

The way each sector is run can be wildly different. Sometimes you may crave a little public sector due diligence whilst other times you might want to escape from the confines of bureaucracy and get some freedom.

Some of the main differences between the two sectors can be summarised thus:

 Public sectorPrivate sector
GoalsBring projects in on budget and in timeProduce strong return on investment
StakeholdersService users that need to be encouraged to engageClients that actively take part in projects
KPIsBased on service user and budgetary needsCentred on delivering projects and increasing profits

A public sector PMO needs to work to satisfy a range of stakeholders, whether that be elected officials, oversight offices, ombudsmen, or members of the public. Getting budgets and timeframes delivered is critical. On the other hand, a private sector PMO needs to look at ROI and the business impact of projects.

Local and multinational PMOs

Big companies run big projects that need oversight. Small companies have projects that can have significant impacts on their bottom line. A PMO in both settings is essential to ensure the projects are ran well, but there will be differences in approach as well as long-term goals.

  • A small, locally-based PMO will be heavily client-focussed and will bring them into projects along the way. A PMO within a multinational setting is more likely to spend its time working on the processes that it manages.
  • A PMO in a local business will be responsive to the market and dynamic, whereas you can expect a corporate PMO to be a large machine slowly rolling through its procedures.
  • Local business PMOs will likely focus on a handful of important projects but a multinational PMO needs to have a very broad overview across the organisation.

Start-up and corporate PMOs

Start-ups are known for their dynamism and ability to shake up a market. A nimble and responsive PMO can drive the success of a start-up by implementing procedures and harmonising processes. The focus is on building a successful, profitable company.

A corporate PMO will work to achieve the strategic plan of the business, with rigid structures and a strong direction from the board. The focus will be on reducing risks and adding value to the business.

Manufacturing and services PMOs

Whether a PMO is in a company that produces items or offers services will have a big impact on how the PMO will work. In the manufacturing sector, you can expect a PMO to work on processes in terms of their effect on the end result. A service provider will be led by customers and the feedback they receive.

A manufacturing PMO will need hands on expertise to really manage projects in an effective and efficient way. In a services PMO, leadership and management skills will go a long way.

The take home

A PMO will look different is every business, but it will always be able to add value. The ideal PMO across different settings will vary on where it focusses, what it will do to achieve its goals, and indeed what those goals are.