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The Most Important Services a PMO Provides

Earlier this month The Global State of the PMO for 2015 was launched by ESI and there are so many insights into the PMO today which deserve a closer look here on the blog. One of the questions put to the survey respondents was “Thinking about your current PMO, what are the most important services it provides?

Here is the complete list respondents were able to choose from. They had to pick their top five:

  • Administrative support
  • Benefits Management
  • Communication planning
  • Community of Practice
  • Financial Management
  • Governance
  • Knowledge Management
  • Management Reporting
  • Mentoring/Coaching
  • Methodology, Processes and Standards
  • Planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Project Management Tools
  • Quality Management
  • Reporting results linked to organizational strategy
  • Resource Management
  • Reviews, audits
  • Risk Management
  • Training

To give the final results some PMO context, the split in the types of PMOs respondents worked within were as follows:


The majority of PMOs in this report are situated at a departmental level and will provide support to both that department and the programmes and projects which are running within it. Then we have the Centre of Excellence model which works to increase the standards of project management across the project organisation. Then the Enterprise model – better known now as the portfolio management office and then the final type of Programme Office / Project Offices, focused purely on support at that level.

The Top Five PMO Services Offered

The top five services chosen were:

  1. Methodology, Processes and Standards
  2. Management Reporting
  3. Project Management Tools
  4. Portfolio management
  5. Planning

What these results show us is that regardless of the type of PMO in operation there will be services that span across all of them with the exception of portfolio management. Even though the Centre of Excellence would have Methodology, Processes and Standards as a top service, so would the Departmental PMO and the Programme/Project PMO. Not all organisations would have all these types of PMO in operation therefore typical PMO services like the methodology would fall to whatever PMO is in use.

There are prehaps no surprises to see Management Reporting in the top two, it is, after all what the PMO is known for. It makes sense to see Project Management Tools are number three because of the means and mechanisms to provide management reports.

So far, the report highlights pretty much what most PMO practitioners might expect to see as top functions their PMO provides. Now its time to take a look further down the list to see what PMO practitioners think is not as important a service.

The Rest of the PMO Services Offered

We can learn new insights from looking at what is not deemed to be as important, just as much as we can from the ones that are highlighted as important PMO services. The diagram below gives a great graphical insight into the areas which are popular and those which aren’t.



In order of preference here is the remainder of the list:

6. Governance
7. Risk Management
8. Resource Management
9. Financial Management
10. Reporting results linked to organizational strategy
11. Administrative support
12. Reviews, audits
13. Mentoring/Coaching
14. Community of Practice
15. Knowledge Management
16. Training
17. Quality Management
18. Communication planning
19. Benefits Management

There are a few things here that certainly ring true when talking to PMO practitioners about their PMO and the services they provide. Benefits Management in last place certainly reflects anecdotal evidence that a lot of organisations are just not carrying out benefits management and realisation within their programmes. Knowledge Management and how it manifests itself in the organisation and PMO is just not as important as it should be. Are we stuck in the ‘how to make lessons learnt really work rather than just capturing things that never get used?’ The Global State of the PMO also highlighted the role the PMO could play in Training yet today it is not deemed as important enough.

One thing that the report highlights is a clear list of what should form the part of any organisation’s PMO objectives – or unique selling points. These areas – perhaps with the exception of portfolio management – are how we bring commonality into PMO discussions rather than stating that PMOs vary from organisation to organisation and therefore no common ground can be found between them.

Let’s state that PMOs are there to provide these core services | Methodology, Processes and Standards | Management Reporting | Project Management Tools | Planning.

Now perhaps we can think about how each PMO might tackle these services in relation to the organisation’s own particular way of doing project business?


You can download the Global State of the PMO 2015 here.


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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott
Lindsay Scott is Director of PMO Learning, the PMO training specialist and Arras People the programme and project management recruitment specialists. Lindsay is the project management careers columnist for PMI's Network magazine and co-editor of the Gower Handbook of People in Project Management. Lindsay created and hosts The PMO Conference and hosts the monthly PMO Flashmobs

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