Which Type of PMO is Right for Your Business?

Project management offices (PMOs) are an essential tool that organizations can use to ensure their projects stay on track, which is why there are different types of PMOs available. Before you implement a PMO into your organization, it’s important to first understand what types of PMOs there are, how they function and what problems they are best suited to solving. To ensure you choose the right type of PMO for your business, follow this helpful guide to choosing the right type of PMO for your business needs.

What is a Project Management Office (PMO)?

Project Management Offices (PMOs) are organizational units tasked with providing support to multiple projects throughout an organization. Projects can be anything from IT projects, software and hardware implementations or even new HR policies. A PMO will ensure that all projects in a given portfolio move along efficiently and according to plan. As you might imagine, each type of organization has different needs when it comes to their PMO structure. Knowing which structure your business should adopt makes project management more efficient and cost-effective. Let’s look at three main types of PMOs: a centralized PMO, a decentralized structure, and what we’ll call hybrid structures – because they have elements of both centralized and decentralized models but are generally easier to manage than either one alone.


If you have a small company or no formal organizational structure, chances are that you don’t need a formal project management office (PMO). You might be able to manage things without one. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and it would be easy to spread them around among everybody who needs them—if only everybody knew exactly what they needed to do! How do you make sure that people are working on what’s most important and not spending time on tasks that aren’t going to bring in any money? That’s where a PMO comes in. A formalized office staffed with dedicated personnel can handle administrative and managerial duties so your employees can get back to work.


The purpose of a Project Management Office (PMO) can be many things, ranging from company-wide documentation and strategic planning to project estimation, scheduling, financial management, quality control and more. Each type of PMO has different responsibilities depending on its size and in which areas it focuses. If you’re considering establishing a PMO within your organization, it’s important to know what types are available and which will work best for your business’ needs. The right approach depends on several factors—size, technology usage and priorities—so finding one that fits with your goals can take some time.

Understanding the Types of PMO for Your Business

PMO organisational structures come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The culture of a firm has an impact on the PMO structure and how it evolves. The following are the most prevalent PMO organisational structures:

Supportive PMO:

The supportive PMO provides on-demand knowledge, templates, best practises, and access to information and experience on other projects, among other things.

This type of PMO also can provide guidance as needed. For example, if you’re just starting out with a new project management methodology or system, a supportive PMO can provide guidance and training. Another example might be when an organization decides to implement a new project management methodology but doesn’t have all of its processes in place yet. A supportive PMO could help by providing templates until your organization gets its own processes established.

Controlling PMO:

A controlling PMO can help organisations “rein in” activities, processes, procedures, paperwork, and other aspects of their operations.

The organisation not only provides assistance, but it also expects that assistance be used.

The difference between a controlling PMO and other type of PMOs is control. Controlling PMOs are typically installed by an executive or senior management who want to ensure that their vision for project management is followed throughout all levels of an organisation. These types of organisations often have strict policies and procedures in place, which they expect will be followed without exception.

Directive PMO:

This type of PMO hands down tasks to project managers. This can create a lot of chaos in a project, but if you need someone to guide your projects and help you adhere to strict timelines then it may be what you need. A Directive PMO works best when there are numerous and complex projects occurring simultaneously as they can keep everyone on task at all times. However, since everyone follows orders from their superiors, there’s little room for creativity or input from anyone other than the top dog; so if one person isn’t able to handle all that comes with being leader, then mistakes will likely occur when another takes over that position.

Choosing the Right type of PMO for Your Business

The structure of your company’s project management office (PMO) could mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful project management. To ensure project management success, your PMO framework must mesh seamlessly with the organisational culture.

Projects are more likely to be delivered on time and within budget when your PMO structure matches your organization’s needs and resources. You must first answer the following questions to build the right PMO structure for your company:

  • Do you frequently run across roadblocks when it comes to project management?
  • Is there a common project management technique in place at your company for all projects?
  • Do you have numerous projects running at the same time in your company?
  • What are your project management office’s resources?

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