Gartner Research

Taking Your PMO to the Next Stage

Published: 01 March 2006

ID: G00138608

Analyst(s): Hilda Agopian, Chuck Tucker


Project management offices (PMOs) evolve through the project, program and portfolio management stages as they mature to meet ever-increasing business needs. A project management office can reduce the risk of project schedule slippage, cost overruns and scope creep by focusing on a standard project management process, basic tools and project manager development. A program management office can improve resource management across business and IT projects and programs by combining related business and IS projects into programs, as well as by implementing governance, communications programs and collaboration tools. A portfolio management office can contribute to business growth by optimizing the mix of project and program investments and focusing on benefits realization and knowledge management. CIOs must ensure that their PMOs master the basics of their current stage before they evolve them to the next stage.

Table Of Contents


Executive summary

  • PMOs must evolve as business needs change
  • Reduce business risk with a project management office
  • Optimize resource use with a program management office
  • Contribute to business growth through a portfolio management office

PMOs must evolve as business needs change

  • PMOs change their scope as they evolve
  • As they evolve, PMOs add new functions
  • Plan to evolve your PMO to meet changing business needs

Reduce business risk with a project management office

  • Project management offices develop the process, tools and managers
  • Implement a flexible project management process and basic tools
  • Develop competent project managers through formal training, coaching and mentoring
  • Provide flexible project management staffing
  • Assess your project management office against best practices

Optimize resource use with a program management office

  • Program management offices focus on coordinating related business and IT projects
  • Program management requires an institutionalized project management culture
  • Make governance and communications key program management functions
  • Help business and IS project teams coordinate their work
  • Assess your program management office against best practices

Contribute to business growth through a portfolio management office

  • Portfolio management offices focus on enterprise portfolio optimization
  • Position the portfolio management office outside IS for greater independence
  • Extend the portfolio management office's influence
  • Design governance to focus senior management's decision making on strategic issues
  • Implement tools to facilitate informed portfolio decision making and organizational learning
  • Assess your portfolio management office against best practices

Appendix A: Organizing the PMO

Appendix B: Representative PMO tools and frameworks

Further reading

  • Gartner EXP reports
  • Core Research
  • Books and other publications
  • Web sites

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