A Five-Phase Approach to Launching a PMO

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By Mario Trentim

I recently delivered a webinar at ProjectManagement.com on how to effectively define a project management office’s business model, functions and structure (watch the recording here).

In that presentation, I wanted to start a discussion on different modern approaches to defining and implementing PMOs. Today, I’m going to share some thoughts and examples on how to do that in practice.

A step-by-step process to define and implement a PMO helps to build buy-in. The following five phases lay out a learning process in which stakeholders are identified and engaged to discuss and develop a PMO model that best suits their organizational needs.


Phase 1: Assessment

Understand the organizational context and assess current project management practices and maturity levels. The as-is situation involves processes mapping and the use of maturity models, such as OPM3®.


Phase 2: Definition

Once the current situation (as is) is described in detail, explore the future desired situation (to be). The Business Model Generation helps in defining the ideal solution for a desired PMO model. The gap analysis between current and desired situations will guide the implementation plan.

This phase also includes defining the following aspects of the PMO:

Mandate: mission and vision

Business model: customers and value proposition

Structure and functions: processes, resources and partnerships


Phase 3: Implementation

This is not easy. It involves a lot of change management and stakeholder management. A phased approach to the implementation is recommended, especially for large endeavors.

You might want to implement a pilot PMO in a region or department before rolling it out to the entire organization. The implementation work packages will depend on the PMO definition. Deliverables might include: training, software, processes, methodology, templates and more.


Phase 4: Continuous Improvement

The PMO is an entity that must deliver business value. Its mission is not to help individual projects thrive but to boost the entire organization’s performance through best practices and governance.

As the organization changes and matures, so does the PMO. It should be a flexible and adaptable structure to accommodate new project management challenges ahead.

A continuous improvement plan may include a maturity-growing roadmap and regular assessment of PMO functions and KPIs to guarantee that it is always reinventing itself before it turns out to be obsolete.


Phase 5: Closeout

The closeout phase should include a celebration of the PMO results, emphasizing its mandate, to engage stakeholders and keep buy-in. 

The main lesson: always involve and engage stakeholders properly. Keep in mind that a PMO is an organizational structure that should create value, distribute value and capture value. The Business Model Generation helps to identify what value is for the stakeholders (customer segments/value proposition), which drives the PMO functions and structure.

It all starts with these frequently avoided questions about PMOs. Once you answer those questions, you can go to the next step: using the business model generation.

PMO Model Generation TRENTIM

Example of a PMO Business Model


Of course, you may have other ideas for PMO business models. What are your PMO’s customers? Value proposition? Functions? Share your comments, thoughts and suggestions below.


Posted by Mario Trentim on: March 26, 2016 11:16 AM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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@Mario: Good post. PMO Business Model is excellent. In what ways would you redesign the model for an Agile environment? See, for example, an elaborate discussion about this at http://www.emergn.com/the-agile-pmo/

Crisp and well written. what was not clear to me is how Business model generation leads to Ideal PMO model.

Hello Prabhaker, thanks for your comment! The Business Model Generation is very flexible and it can be adapted to all environments. Actually, it is a learning process focused on discovering stakeholders' needs to define the PMO's mandate, functions and structure. Regards, Mario.

Dear Suresh, please take a look at other articles and the webinar below:


The ideal PMO model should be tailored to your organisational needs. The Business Model Generation is a learning process to guide you in this definition. As a matter of fact, a PMO is an organisational structure that provides services to other funcional areas and business units. In that sense, implementing a PMO is somewhat like creating a new company or a new business unit. That's why BMG is so helpful.

I am going to write another article with different PMO Models using BMG. The idea is that a different BMG canvas can be defined in a collaborative process. It should be validated. It should be measured and reviewed as needed.

Best regards,

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