Project Management Institute

A multi-phase research program investigating project management offices (PMOs)

the results of phase I

Since the mid-1990s, an increasing number of global organizations have attempted to improve their capacity to manage projects by establishing project management offices (PMOs). Despite this proliferation of PMOs, the field lacks a comprehensive understanding of this dynamic tool, of its structure and its purpose. This article examines the first phase of a multi-phase study to understand the complex dynamics of actual PMOs, a study focused on identifying actual PMO functions. In doing so, it discusses PMI's definition of a PMO as well as the different types of PMOs, the problems involved in defining PMOs, and the typologies commonly used in the field's literature to describe the variety of PMO forms and functions. It also overviews the study's purpose and methodology, listing the objective for this phase and its three subsequent phases; it explains the activities that the authors performed during the first phase.
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