Office With A View

Aaron is the former editor of ProjectsAtWork.com

Though PMO value may still be fuzzy, more organizations are starting to get a better picture.

They come in many shapes and sizes, and there's a good chance that one is coming to a project near you. About one out of four organizations has established a project management office (PMO), surveys show, with more than half of them created in the past two years, according to the State of the PMO 2002, a research project conducted by Projects@Work magazine and Interthink Consulting.

The PMO is at the leading edge of a move toward a more disciplined, strategic approach to project management that starts with standardizing methods and facilitating individual project efforts, and is evolving to include portfolio and resource management of all projects across an organization.

"Over the last few years, projects have become a strategy and not just an action," says Pat Durbin, CEO of PlanView in Austin, Texas. "The new PMOs now provide much more strategic coordination to help executives prioritize work—a little different task than the original goals of enforcing standards and mentoring. They have more influence."

How much influence depends, of course, on how an organization defines the role of the PMO. While many companies are fairly certain they need a PMO, most are still figuring out what it should do and how it should do it.

Model Choice

PMOs vary greatly in size and mission, …

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