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Types of Project Management Offices: If Your PMO Was A Car, It’d Be...

    

In the age of accelerated digital transformation, the type of PMO you are matters. 

Failure to keep up with the pace of change is like hitting cruise control in the slow lane—and it can actually put your PMO on the fast track to obsolescence.

To remain relevant in the era of ongoing technological advances and rapid digital change, you’ll need to know exactly who you are to your organization: that means recognizing and developing your existing strategies and processes and aligning them to corporate goals to continually demonstrate the value of your PMO. 

Read on to see if you recognize what kind of PMO you are. 

 

Supportive

The main characteristic of a supportive PMO is one that provides on-demand expertise, templates, best practices, and support without actually controlling the projects.

Supportive PMOs spend their days providing support, information, training, and technical support to PMs and project teams without being directly involved in the project. You generally don’t have many set methodologies, procedures, or project management tools.

You act like coaches and cheerleaders: you support teams with continuous guidance, mentoring, and training, so you can grow with the natural direction of the company. You’re less involved in day-to-day project management. You’re on stand-by, ready to provide support and project management expertise for PMs and teams who need it. 

If you were a car, you’d be an SUV - providing consistency and unending reliability. Your PMO functions on a “center of excellence” model, serving a crucial, supporting role for your company’s project management needs by providing templates, methodologies, tooling, and best practices for project and program managers.

Both practical and eye-catching, you never lack for passengers – everyone’s willing to ride where your PMO is headed. The unparalleled dependability and portfolio success of your PMO exceeds all value expectations….and continues to get your projects – and the company -- from point A to point B every day.

 

Adaptive

An adaptive PMO incorporates multiple methods (agile, waterfall, etc.), tools, people, and skillsets throughout the organization to get the best results.

Adaptive PMOs spend most of their days working with project teams to achieve milestones and decision points, modifying our approach along the way. They continually shape demand and consistently reevaluate the portfolio to ensure transparency and alignment with corporate objectives.

The mindset of the adaptive PMO is akin to a flexible partner: they embrace experimentation, learning, and change through a collaborative, data-driven approach. With a full view of project demand, they make business decisions based on data and maintain full project oversight by consistently reevaluating the portfolio.

Going back to the car analogy, the Adaptive PMO is an amphibious vehicle. The combination of flexibility and strategic thinking means they consistently reevaluate the portfolio to ensure transparency and alignment with corporate objectives to deliver maximum value to the organization. They continually balance resources with project demand, and like the amphibious vehicle, they can flip a switch and adapt to its environment. 

With an agile mindset and collaborative style—embracing multiple methods and championing through change—they’re able to take on any (project) terrain – and leave others in their wake…or dust.

 

Directive

The directive PMO fully manages all projects by providing all resources, including professional project managers from the PMO and spend their time overseeing all aspects of every project across the enterprise, working to guarantee consistency across project-level work and in final results. 

When it comes to methodologies, they define and control all methodologies, standards, and policies related to project work and delivery. They act like a control tower, by taking a disciplined approach, using consistent tools and methodologies, and enforcing pre-determined standards. They maintain consistency across all projects. 

Think luxury sports car - this PMO is refined, elegant, but full of expertise: they’re fine-tuned up-front, meet all specifications, and in-it-to-win-it once the (project) race starts. 

The directive PMO comes fully loaded with all the extras needed to execute initiatives, injecting unparalleled professionalism and consistency of practice across projects.

They really own the road, all from the seat of a fine-tuned machine!

 

Hybrid

The hybrid PMO integrates all project executive approaches, regardless of whether projects are delivered using agile, waterfall, or hybrid approaches. They use a combination of multiple practices, which gives them the best of both worlds - the thoroughness of traditional project management and the speed and flexibility of Agile methods.

They support of an end-to-end portfolio management approach, and the integration of all project execution approaches, across all business functions.

A hybrid PMO can be compared to the latest hybrid car models. They can integrate traditional project management with leaner, faster Agile principles to deliver the best outcomes regardless of methodology. 

They’re “plugged in” to a business-driven mindset and the use of multiple project management methods means that the company benefits both from the speed of Agile and the more thorough aspects of traditional project management.