Project management offices are ubiquitous in business spheres. That said, despite their prevalence, the roles, responsibilities, and major tasks of a project management office (PMO) often go unrecognized. Once limited to administrative tasks and functions, PMOs today perform a wide array of activities to support successful project delivery. Actually, the diversity of the roles and responsibilities that a PMO can hold within an organization is quite dazzling.

Whether you are considering setting up a PMO or repurposing an existing one, understanding what to expect will help you align your project management efforts with your organizational goals.


Top 10 Major Tasks of a PMO

While every project management office and its roles are different, there are some overarching major tasks PMOs do in most cases. Let’s take a closer look.

Among the key tasks of a PMO is establishing guidelines and processes for all project-related activities, in order to maximize an organization’s impact and productivity.

Based on audits and evaluations of an organization’s challenges and requirements, PMOs identify and implement best practices. Such a framework ensures that leaders and teams:

  • Select and prioritize the right projects
  • Stay within the deadline and budget
  • Use resources optimally
  • Make insightful and timely decisions based on reliable information

Your PMO can opt for one of the popular project management methodologies (such as Waterfall, Agile, PRINCE2, etc.) or develop its own hybrid, tailor-made model.

Regardless, your project management framework should be maintained and improved over time to support your organization’s transformation and reflect changes in your industry.


2. Defining Roles & Responsibilities

Your project management office should identify various stakeholders involved in project activity and clearly define their respective responsibilities, in order to coordinate action and clearly determine:

  • Who makes which decisions
  • Who is responsible for what
  • How to communicate information across various stakeholders and populations
  • How to report that information


3. Overseeing Healthy, Balanced Portfolios

Project management offices are tasked with selecting and prioritizing the right projects and programs, as well as organizing them into portfolios. To do that, PMOs can define a set of rules and conditions for including projects and consider organization-specific selection criteria.

The Major Tasks of a Project Management Office (PMO)

Using this framework, PMOs can combine project activity effectively to maximize an organization’s return on investment and ensure resources are used strategically. PMOs further support those decisions with appropriate documentation for board review and approval purposes.

Project portfolio optimization is a dynamic process: as conditions evolve, portfolios need adjustment to stay relevant. The PMO will engage in ongoing tracking and review of portfolio health, reporting progress and recommending changes (for example, postponing or canceling a project) when required.


4. Enforcing Standards

A PMO sets up procedures and practices, but it also makes sure that everyone complies with them when necessary. It might also look for compliance with organizational standards that go beyond project management. In doing so, your PMO can identify performance gaps in teams or workflows and take corrective action.


5. Providing a Framework for Project Activity

Offering ongoing support to project managers and other stakeholders is a vital part of a PMO’s responsibilities, as is providing information to ensure project success. PMOs pass on their experience and knowledge to create a one-stop shop for all of a project team’s queries and problems.

As part of this support role, a PMO can also mentor project managers. A PMO’s support and coaching helps new managers develop their competencies, update technical skills, and enhance leadership capabilities. All of these things combined can significantly increase an organization’s potential.

Likewise, a project management office can also offer focused or across-the-board training programs to ensure that all team members have the right skills. This is particularly useful for organizations where non-project professionals run the projects.


6. Consolidating & Sharing Organizational Knowledge

An effective project management office facilitates the transfer of knowledge across different teams and departments. It centralizes information and makes resources widely available to all stakeholders, including:

  • Lessons learned from past projects
  • Standard metrics and templates
  • Tips and tricks
  • How-tos and educational material
  • Inspirational content, such as case studies

The PMO will publicize this resource center to make sure that everyone concerned benefits from the sharing of organizational knowledge. Doing so also helps shorten the learning curve for project teams and ensures more work gets off the ground faster.


7. Finding the Right PPM Tools

Just as PMOs create standards and procedures for others, they also must optimize their own workflows. Industry-grade project management software and solutions like Sciforma are designed to make project portfolio management (PPM) activities much easier. A PPM software can automate a number of tasks that used to be performed manually, thus speeding up workflows and improving project delivery timelines. 

A good PPM tool should offer a centralized system to break down data and ensure information is visible in real time across different projects and portfolios. For instance, Sciforma enables PMOs to collect data at the source at the push of a button and perform advanced analyses that guide strategic decision-making.


8. Optimizing Resource Efficiency

Planning and scheduling resources efficiently is one of the most important tasks of a successful, value-driven PMO.

The rules of the game are simple. On the one hand, the PMO needs to make sure that the right resources are assigned to the right project or task at the right time.

On the other hand, it needs to maximize the utilization of the organization’s resource pool, seeing to it that nothing and no one is overburdened and that everyone works at full capacity. This minimizes resource wastage and supports productivity, reduced project resource costs, and better project quality.

To make this goal a reality, PMOs collect and consolidate up-to-date information about employee skills, roles, and experiences. From there, they can create a shared resource base that all stakeholders can use to shape their decisions.


9. Preparing for the Future

A future-oriented mindset is a key requirement for PMOs. In addition to resource demand and capacity projections, your project management office should actively engage in a variety of forecasting activities.

This often involves relying on a PPM tool like Sciforma, which allows you to simulate hypothetical scenarios, predict the consequences of decisions, and identify the best course of action for your projects.


10. Ensuring Reliable Executive Reporting

Creating project management reports to share with executive business leaders and decision-makers ensures that management can make timely, informed decisions. Because it centralizes all project- and portfolio-related information, the project management office is in charge of consolidating and formatting it for delivery to the right stakeholders.

To achieve consistent and clear reporting, most PMOs establish and maintain sets of KPIs and use standard report templates. This is another area where a PPM software can be useful – storing templates and having quick access to all relevant metrics makes reporting a breeze.


Final Thoughts on the Major Tasks of a Project Management Office (PMO)

Overall, project management office tasks are as nuanced as they are numerous. Some of the most significant roles of a project management office include:

  • Identifying and implementing industry best practices into workflows
  • Managing and reducing costs
  • Maximizing resource allocation and utilization
  • Improving collaboration
  • Boosting productivity
  • Sharing valuable information with relevant stakeholders
  • Supporting strategic decision-making and aligning projects with organizational goals

In a way, a PMO can actually be defined as a value center: while it may engage in all kinds of activities, they are all aimed at generating direct benefits for the business.

With the help of a powerful tool like Sciforma, PMOs can hit the ground running, streamlining their tasks so that they can achieve goals like those above confidently and quickly.

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