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What is a Project Management Office? - Definition & Roles

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  • 0:02 A First Look
  • 0:51 Further Understanding
  • 2:12 PMO Roles
  • 4:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

In this lesson, we'll learn about project management offices. We'll learn the definition of the project management office and explore the many roles and styles that this office can fulfill.

A First Look

Meet Sonny. Sonny works for Teaching and Tutoring, a company that offers tutoring services for students. While tutoring has always been the main function of the company, it has recently decided to venture into educational projects. Some of the projects include clinics for teachers to aid them in better helping students in need. Other projects are more fun in nature, like field trip programs that take children on adventures in the community.

While the new projects certainly add an exciting dynamic to the company, Sonny has begun to notice that the once extremely organized company is starting to unravel. You see, Teaching and Tutoring seems to be overwhelmed with the extra program duties. It was at this time that Sonny suggested implementing a project management office to help oversee the new projects.

Further Understanding

So, you might be wondering: What is meant by the term project management office? Well, a project management office (PMO) is a group established within a company that clarifies and maintains project management standards. The group, which can be a whole department, is responsible for delegating, organizing, and overseeing a variety of projects.

PMOs are sometimes created for a special, one-time project and disassemble afterward, while other times they may be created to offer long-term administrative assistance for project managers, which allows these employees to devote more time to more important tasks and responsibilities. In other words, a PMO is established to help provide any help, guidance, or administrative assistance so that projects can be better managed and implemented within a company.

For example, Teaching and Tutoring could establish a project management office to help project managers work more efficiently and focus their attention on higher-concept tasks. The PMO might help process paperwork involved in projects, like consent forms from the students participating in field trips or other activities. The PMO can also help guide project managers from the start of a program to the end, ensuring that it runs smoothly so that Teaching and Tutoring can stay organized and efficient.

PMO Roles

So, what does a PMO do precisely, and how does it operate? The responsibilities of a PMO can vary greatly by company, and they can also vary according to the type of project management office. Let's review the responsibilities of PMOs according to some different types, including the project repository, departmental, project specific, center of excellence, and enterprise type of PMO. Keep in mind that some PMOs may fulfill just one or many of these roles.

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