A Program Office can be an internal or external team that defines and secures processes and ensures that the projects are completed according to time plan and budget. The PMO is often responsible for selecting and prioritizing which projects to run, when, and how, as well as defining the required roles and responsibilities. The projects must align with the overall strategy of the business, meaning that policies, processes, and workflows need to be created.
PMO means Program Management Office but can also stand for Program Management Officer. In larger organizations, the PMO is the part of the business that is responsible for streamlining and developing the management of a number of projects. A Program Office documents projects and best practices. The Program Manager reports to the management team and stakeholders to prioritize projects and ensures that these are in line with the set business strategy. Smaller companies often manage without a PMO, but if the business has many cross-functional projects running at the same time, then a Program Office should be a priority.
“Being a Program Management Officer is a profession – A senior leader with the ability to run complex multidisciplinary initiatives across the organization.”
Although the roles are similar functionally, a Program Management Officer differs from a Project Manager in that a Project Manager runs a specific project from start to finish and a Program Management Officer works at the executive level and leads a team of Project Managers. The PMO is responsible for all projects and implementations. The PMO itself usually consists of a multidisciplinary team with, for example, IT, finance, risk management, and HR. These work together to ensure that all projects are delivered with the highest quality and according to set goals.
As the project portfolio grows, the risk of delays increases – the PMO will be crucial.
A Project Management Office is beneficial when you are driving a number of projects as it increases the risk of failure. The team in a PMO understands how every single project fits into the company’s strategy and supports in ensuring that the right people are in place to reduce the risk of failure.
You might need a Program Management Office if:
- Several projects are run at the same time and need to be coordinated
- One or more projects tend to be delayed or over-budgeted
- Projects are critical to achieving business goals
- Your stakeholders do not have insight into how the projects are going
- Standardized processes for how projects are efficiently carried out are lacking
- A clear follow-up of the entire project portfolio is lacking
- The right leadership skills and experience with PMO are lacking in the organization
A PMO office can quickly get a holistic approach to the entire project portfolio
A PMO provides long-term and sustainable results. The function drives and ensures processes and structures across the organization and ensures that best practice is used, and keeps track of status and direction – all in one place. A PMO ensures that projects and programs are successful.
A Program Office:
- Delivers projects on schedule and budget
- Increases productivity
- Ensures that projects comply with the objectives of the business
- Reduces the risk of the number of failed projects
“Some things that are consistent from assignment to assignment are to understand where you are going – the direction, why you are doing what you are doing, and what abilities will be required going forward.”Joakim Kedbrant
A well-functioning PMO office is increasingly important during periods of change
Program Management Offices may contribute during periods of change as follows:
- Define, prioritize, and implement the projects that need to be implemented
- Ensure that projects benefit the values and objectives of the business
- Documentation and ongoing follow-up show the status, success, and possible risks of the projects
- Ensure that the right skills are in the different teams
Read more about Program Offices and PMO: