PMO guide definition, roles and tools

May 23, 2023

A PMO (Project Management Office) is an entity responsible for planning and organizing projects in order to maximize profitability. In the following, we will define what exactly a PMO is and what other meaning lies behind these acronyms.

The different types of PMO, their objectives and the tools to maximize the efficiency of all their processes and become an entity of real value in the business environment.

What is a project management office or PMO?

The acronym PMO refers to both the project management department as a whole and the person responsible for it. In the first case, the acronym designates the project management office (the Project Management Office ) and in the second, the person responsible for project management (the Project Management Officer ) .

Therefore, we can define these concepts as the department or person responsible for ensuring that project management is carried out efficiently and optimally, in relation to the set objectives. There are up to eight types of PMO:

  • Evaluation PMO. This is the office or person responsible for monitoring a project. It monitors the main key performance indicators in order to alert if there is a risk of non-compliance in any of them. In the following article, you will learn more about how to effectively control projects.
  • Strategic PMO. Based on the information above, the most appropriate strategic and organizational decisions are taken to correct the gaps likely to result in non-compliance with the set objectives (projects to prioritize and prioritize, skills and human resources to target and recruit, pricing to be adjusted…)
  • Executive or controlling PMO. This is the office or individual responsible for ensuring that all defined settings and policies are applied appropriately. He ensures compliance with the rules and reports any incompatibilities likely to affect the execution of tasks as planned.
  • PMO support. This is to provide support in any part of the project. Whether at the strategic level or at the monitoring level, the reorganization of resources or any other issue requiring reinforcement for the achievement of objectives.
  • Crisis PMO. This is a team or professional specialized in crisis situations. It brings together characteristics of support, reorganization of resources, sources of financing, agile or scrum methodologies and any tool facilitating the rapid resolution of situations that could jeopardize a project.
  • Global PMO. This is an office or person that encompasses some or all of the functions described above. If the structure is sufficient, a global PMO would be the top of the hierarchical pyramid. This is where all the parameters on which the previous types of PMOs depend are supervised, with the aim of coordinating them while maintaining company values and ensuring compliance with the main common KPIs.
  • Internal PMO. Depending on the size of the company or the volume of projects, management offices can constitute a separate department within organizations.
  • External PMO. These are project management consulting firms that can provide their expertise as suppliers on a recurring or one-off basis.

What is the difference between a project manager and a PMO?

The project manager is the person who sets the objectives and provides the resources to achieve them. The PMO is responsible for effectively managing its resources , by setting up an organization that makes it possible to improve the KPIs initially established.

The functions of a project management office

In order to determine the functions of a project management office, it is important to know the key indicators to measure the success of your projects . Based on these indicators, we can establish the following functions:

Strategic planning and governance

The first of these functions is strategic planning and governance in order to choose the right projects. The company's strategy, vision and values must be taken into account, as well as the resources actually available.

An obvious but illuminating example: a PMO will not be able to support a job requiring 25 programmers if it only has 10 and cannot handle the remaining recruitment volume.

Knowing how to say no to certain projects, due to doubts about their profitability or because they are not aligned with the company culture, is also a function that the PMO must fulfill in this section.

Standardization and project training

The project management office must also train its human resources to equip them with the knowledge, tools and processes necessary to achieve the objectives.

Resource management

PMOs will need to manage human and technical resources to increase efficiency and productivity. This involves planning and allocating available human resources in the most efficient way possible. And establish a schedule of tasks and processes that allows workflows to be reproduced as they were initially planned, in order to align with the objectives set.

Control of cost effectiveness

Finally, the PMO must ensure the profitability of its project portfolio . He must constantly monitor deviations from the initial budget. This is about ensuring that the project we are working on will not only be profitable on paper, but also in practice and that it will be delivered on time.

PMO tools: essential characteristics

PMO software is a tool for managing projects and the project portfolio as a whole more efficiently. This management system makes it possible to centralize management, consolidate data and thus enable efficient management. 

The challenges for companies around project portfolio management to which PMO software must provide a response are diverse: 

  • Visibility . Have real-time and forecast visibility on all consolidated activity data to better plan and anticipate
  • Human resources management . Global management across the project portfolio is required to better allocate resources. With the context of the war for talent, the logic of commitment in matching projects and collaborators must be a key element.
  • Responsiveness and adaptability . As unforeseen circumstances always arise, it must be possible for you to observe deviations and the financial and operational impacts of planned or planned changes in order to make better decisions.
  • Analytics . A PMO tool must give you the keys to understanding your projects, the reasons for successes and failures with good granularity.
  • Collaboration and confidentiality . A PMO tool is a real mediator of information and decisions: it must provide the right level to each employee.
  • Simplicity and automation . The PMO tool should save you time by eliminating repetitive tasks, standardizing and accelerating operations with workflows.

Real-time visibility & collaboration

A first essential element for a PMO tool is to deliver information in real time and with adequate levels of access and therefore rights. The visibility that a PMO tool provides lies in its ability to consolidate information in real time. One of Stafiz's strengths is to be able to consolidate all project data: revenues, costs but also tasks & phases, invoices, etc. You thus benefit from visibility on forecast data, such as margin, which is recalculated in real time until 'at the end of the projects.

Our secure CLOUD hosted in France provides you with all the guarantees of protection of your data. For more information, see our data protection page .

Project definition: budgeting and planning

Defining project budgets is the first essential functional building block for a PMO tool. This brick should allow you to quantify and plan your projects in order to verify and validate its financial but also operational viability. This budget will serve as a benchmark for future management projects in particular.

Stafiz responds to the key issues of this phase by remaining flexible: 

  • Taking into account all costs and revenues (rebillable or non-rebillable costs, etc.)
  • Budgeting according to your operation: ranks, people, tasks, etc.
  • Scripting based on commercial opportunities and their quotes (pre- resource planning …)

To find out more, follow our guide: projected project budget: how to do it? Guide and examples

Resource management 

Resource management is the heart of your service company: managing resources from a strategic but also operational point of view. At the strategic level, a PMO tool must manage capacity in a forecast, that is to say respond to the needs of the company (demand) with relevant and available talent (supply). It will also be a question of managing the operational aspect, namely the planning and organization of the load with flexibility. To ensure good management, indicators such as utilization rate must be clear and available.

Stafiz has all these features and goes even further. Capacity management or capacity planning allows you to organize your needs, i.e. searches for your profiles for your entities/BU, in a collaborative manner. Your colleagues can indicate their interest in a mission or in working on a given skill directly on the interface. Finally, our algorithms present you with the most suitable profiles based on your criteria: skills, appetites & availability. Efficient and fast.

Organize your research and form the most suitable teams for each project with Stafiz

To anticipate your resources, keep an eye on your capacity forecast with dedicated reports:

Anticipate your recruitment needs in Stafiz using dedicated graphics (in red on the table: missing profiles) 
See your capacity allocation at a glance

Learn more about the resource planning with Stafiz

On the operational management side, resource allocation is simple and quick in Stafiz.
You can staff, shift, modify and transfer schedules easily. This way, you benefit from a clear and always up-to-date view of the load to better allocate your employees.

Finally, reports allow you to track utilization rate by team, collaborators, zones or any entity of your choice: all this is fully configurable.

Track your loadable and non-loadable production capacity in Stafiz
Follow your KPIs in Stafiz resource planning such as TACE and TACI with precision by role, team, geographical area, etc.

Learn more about managing resource planning with Stafiz

Progress and performance monitoring

Monitoring progress and performance is one of Stafiz’s differentiators and strengths. The teams can follow, with the right degree of confidentiality, the progress but also and above all the financial impacts including forecasts.

Empower your project directors and field teams to deliver your projects on time and on budget.

You benefit from general key indicators and in-depth views in order to analyze progress by employee, tasks or phases, grades, etc. Identify deviations from the initial plan at a glance, in addition to being alerted by email.

Identify difficulties and strengths by tasks/phases, role, collaborators in Stafiz (the criteria are configurable)

To go further, analyze your data in depth: visualize your data by tasks/phases, grades, employees, etc. Identify your remaining tasks and adapt if necessary: modify your resource planning , renegotiate with your client, quantify your projects more accurately… You have the decision-making tool you need.

Summary view of project monitoring in Stafiz

Discover project management in Stafiz

The plus that makes the difference
Automatically trigger your invoices when tasks are due with Stafiz. Learn more about invoicing with Stafiz.

Strategic reporting and project portfolio monitoring

Finally, a PMO tool must provide a consolidated and transversal vision of your project portfolio: it must make it possible to monitor profitability and the risks weighing on your portfolio. You will thus be able to better select your projects and make better management decisions on a daily basis.

On the reporting side, Stafiz's strength lies in being able to consolidate all revenues and costs ( resource planning , purchases, subcontracting, costs etc.) and to be able to follow them by projects, phase/tasks, teams or collaborators, grade: achieved vs budgeted, utilization rate and production, income statement, invoicing status, etc.

Follow your projects in a consolidated manner in Stafiz
The increased income statement with Stafiz: monitor your activity in real time and forecast

Discover project management in Stafiz

The plus that makes the difference
Stafiz does your pre-accounting by having all your data ready for export to your accounting software.
To find out more, visit our “Integration” page