PMOs evolve over time through three stages – even though the term “PMO” is used to refer to all three. PMO Directors and C-level executives play in important role in ensuring that their PMOs master the basics of their current stage, employ best practices and demonstrate results before moving them to the next stage – from tactical to strategic, and from department projects to enterprise initiatives.
The project management stage is where project manager training, coaching and mentoring have the most focus. This stage focuses on tactical processes such as budgets, scheduling, resources, deliverables, scope, risk and metrics.
High-level governance programs and communications programs are most frequently implemented at the program management stage to coordinate business and IT projects. It also involves comprehensive program planning, change and risk management, coordination of project delivery and measurement of results.
The portfolio management stage is where benefits realization management and knowledge management most frequently take place, according to Gartner. At this stage, the PMO manages portfolio scope definition, overall investments, benefits and risks, portfolio performance monitoring and business environment change adaptation.
Program leaders play an important role in matching the PMO stage to business needs, and program evolution. Getting too far out in front of the business or lagging too far behind have similar disadvantages.