Project Management

A How-to Guide for PMO Implementations

Matthew J. Ferguson, PMP, CSM of ESI International, currently leads ESI's Consulting Services Group providing the management support for large-scale organizational transformation projects. For any questions or comments, Mr. Ferguson can be reached at [email protected] or visit ESI International’s website at

As organizations look to improve their performance, they often consider establishing a project management office (PMO). The idea of creating a PMO is one thing; the actual implementation of it is entirely another. Taking a step-by-step approach and following some critical guidelines will help ensure your PMO’s chances for success.

Questions for the Ideation Process
Before determining the PMO’s structure and form, first consider these top 10 questions:

  1. Have we determined what the PMO’s mission should be?
  2. How do we build an effective business case for the PMO’s mission?
  3. Are we able to implement the full scale of the mission, and if we can’t, what are the tradeoffs we are willing to make?
  4. How should the PMO balance its support between strategic programs and day-to-day projects in the face of resource scarcity?
  5. Where should the PMO sit in the organizational hierarchy based on the organization’s intended mission?
  6. Are departments or processes currently in place that would affect future responsibilities of the PMO?
  7. Can the organization’s design and funding structure respond quickly to changing business needs?
  8. Will the PMO manage human capital resources or just provide standards? If it manages them, what political pressures will arise during the transition of these resources?
  9. What…

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