Project Management

The Litmus Test for PMO Success

Chi-Pong Wong is a seasoned supply chain strategist, program manager, service center manager and relations manager. He has published on leading online magazines and other popular journals. He earned a MA in Economics at SUNY Stony Brook and a MS in Computer Science at Duke University. He can be reached at Linkedin and [email protected]

In today’s business world, some people use the term “PMO” to indiscriminately name their management offices governing any one of these three types of tasks: portfolio, program or project. But methodologically, these three objects differ in complexity and scope.

In general, a project has the smallest scope and complexity among the three, and is usually set up to accomplish some goal(s) of a small organization (a team). A program contains multiple interrelated projects that must complete successfully in a symphonized fashion to fulfill goal(s) of a bigger organization (a department). And lastly, a portfolio contains multiple interdependent programs that must complete concertedly to achieve the goal(s) of an even bigger organization (a division or even the corporation) that the departments of the programs belong to.

Although some feel that the labels PPM (Project Portfolio Management), PgMO (Program Management Office) and PMO (Project Management Office) should be used to distinguish these management offices, their sharing of very similar governing processes and common characteristics have caused many to continue to use the term “PMO” to apply to all of them.

All PMOs Share Six Critical Success Factors
In this exploration, we identify the same six key virtues that make or break a PMO representing any one of the aforementioned types. I …


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