Project Management

The Multiplicity of PMOs

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

The PMO department has been on a bit of a hiatus over the last several months, as other writing projects and commitments have intervened. The demand for the articles on PMO development, delivery and operation has continued to be astonishingly and rewardingly high, and this article marks a return of the PMO series as a regular feature on gantthead. Thanks to all of the members and readers of this department for their patience and continued support.
In many previous columns, this department has explored the different types of project management offices that organizations have established. In particular, the popular article The Four Archetypes of the PMO outlined several specific models that different PMOs adopt. The presumption in advancing the original idea was that an organization would adopt and develop their PMO around one of these models. The commentary and feedback received by readers largely reinforced at the time that this was the case, although there were and continue to be many challenges in terms of doing so.
What has been interesting to observe in many organizations, however, is that there are more frequently different types of PMOs that are emerging in the same organization. Particularly in larger organizations, or those that take on and manage several different types of projects, it is not uncommon to find that there are several different types of …

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