tablet, phone, map, diagramsWhen we talk about project management tools, we often think about gantt charts, project plans and project reports. But when the user is a PMO officer, things are quite different. You probably haven’t thought of all these apps to help you manage your project portfolio.

One of the major responsibilities of a Project Management Office is to adopt a technological suite that supports the daunting mission of coordinating the entire project portfolio of an organization. Additionally, many projects have a heavy data print, often in the form of unstructured data, or data without a clear impact on work quality. However, being able to make decisions based on the analysis of those type of untapped data is extremely important for both project leaders and C-level executives. The PMO in that context should assume a facilitating and catalyzing role.

Each PMO officer ought to select with care the technological portfolio that best meets project nature and the governance model. In this article, we recommend several software applications that can be very useful to organize your ideas and have a hold of a complex, corporate project portfolio. Not all of them are project management nor PPM tools, but they all have clear benefits in this world. Consider them for your own toolkit!

Demonstrate the benefits of your PMO with ITM Platform. Try the free 14 day trial.

Whether it’s for a corporate PMO or an IT PMO; for strategic projects, R&D or client projects, these apps can be an essential part of your daily operations.

The most useful apps and tools for PMO managers

1. PPM

Because a professional tool to manage your entire project portfolio is the first duty of any PMO.

The tool: ITM Platform

ITM Platform - Projects Programs and Portfolio

If you don’t already know it, ITM Platform is a cloud-based project, program and portfolio management tool (PPM) with a core strength: it doesn’t need heavy configuration work and and enables an incredibly fast roll-out. With a simplified user experience aligned with the methodological best practices of PMBOK and Prince2, ITM Platform supports the setup of new PMOs with predefined dashboards, customizable reports, plus all the features that a project manager needs.

Pros: ITM Platform is the simplest way to communicate the status of critical projects with senior management, letting them know how money is being spent and supporting more informed decision-making.

Cons: As with any other PPM tool, an adoption plan is required to manage the roll-out, ensure that all project teams are involved and that the system data are reliable.

Want us to show the advantages ITM Platform can bring? Request a free online demonstration.

2. Dashboards and Business Intelligence

In the 21st Century, information must be visual. If you want to make data analysis, you will at least need a robust project that can visualize project reports and establish dynamic relationships between variables.

The tool: Power BI

Power BI - powerful SaaS for project dashboards

Power BI: SaaS brother of Excel and cousin of Tableau.

Excel’s SaaS brother and Tableu’s cousin, Power BI is Microsoft’s data visualization tool. It uses the language M (same as Excel), and can be connected to any external source through API.

Pros: Once plugged to your data, it provides a really friendly experience to analyze data… with Microsoft’s quality.

Cons: In order to onboard Power BI it’s highly recommendable to get the help of a programmer that plugs into the data sources – small teams and organizations may have issues here.

How to connect it to ITM Platform:  Follow this basic tutorial to use ITM Platform as a data source through the open API: although the tutorial talks avout excel, it’s really the same code.

3. Ticketing and development

IT maintenance and software development teams have very specific work management needs. It’s often useful to adopt software that supports change requirement and issue tickets, as well as agile sprints.

The tool: JIRA

logo JIRA

JIRA, from Atlassian, is the standard product for the management of development teams.

JIRA, by Atlassian, is the golden standard for managing development teams.

Pros: JIRA makes it really easy to report issues, user stories and epics to development teams, attach supporting documentation, mention involved people and assign tasks to a given sprint.

Cons: Reporting is not its most satisfactory aspect.

How to connect it with ITM Platform:  The native connector allows to send tasks and projects from JIRA to ITM Platform. Just add your JIRA url and actívate the connector!

This easy integration allows PMOs to report and control their development portfolio from ITM Platform.

4. Team communication

If your team doesn’t have a nice communication environment, they will find it somewhere else.

The tool: Slack

logo Slack

I’m sure you know Slack by now. Its combination of IRC-type chat with in-built work management apps has transformed it into a really powerful tool to connect and coordinate teams: channels by project, attachments, checklists, code snippets… While no technology is radically innovative, the product is unbeatable.

Pros: Slack’s Marketplace hosts hundreds of SaaS apps that will boost your productivity enormously.

Cons: While the freemium option is quite elastic, the cost per user and month is high, but you will have to pay it if you don’t want to lose stored data.

How to connect it to ITM Platform: ITM Teambot, ITM Platform’s app for Slack, allows any user find out their assigned tasks and projects, report effort and progress, as well as add comments to their ITM Platform projects, directly from their Slack chat.

5. Demand management: compile change requests

All PMOs face change requests that exceed by far the capacity of available resources. But before ideas can be analyzed and approved, they must live in one place.

The tool: ITM Platform templates for Zapier

Zapier - task management

The ITM Platform templates in Zapier allow you to collect tasks from anywhere in the cloud.

Thanks to Zapier you can send tasks to an ITM Platform project from hundreds of apps, like Gmail, Google sheets, Dropbox, Evernote… If you take into account the possibilities of multiple-step zaps, there are few limits!

Pros: Empower your entire organization to participate in a culture of innovation and give them an authorized channel to send change requests to the PMO

Cons: Honestly speaking, Zapier is very reliable, and for small data flows it can be even used for free. Of course, the safe bet is to stick to processes that can be automated without affecting performance.

How to connect it to ITM Platform: To understand how to set up a zap you can follow our tutorial, use popular zap templates (below), or use this Google Sheets template.

Zapier, demand management, Create a task compilator in 5 steps

The template to collect tasks in Google Sheet and send them to ITM Platform.

6. Diagrams

Diagramming processes and workflows is one of the most useful ways to promote change, create new procedures and make sure you’re working scientifically towards organizational improvement. A diagrammed PMO is a better managed PMO!

The tool: Lucid Chart

logo Lucid Chart

Lucid Chart is a leader in the niche of professional diagrams

Lucid Chart is leader in this software niche. That said, there’s a lot of really trustworthy competitors, and they’re all using similar license plans. Try on your own a couple of them and go with what you like. If the PMO has only a few users, the cost will be neglectable.

Pros: Do you want to explain complex procedures that affect different areas of your company? Forget pen and paper.

Cons: Very few. In the case of LucidChart, it can even be imported and exported to Microsoft Visio.

7. Big Data Analytics

Big Data won’t be a passing fad for PMOs. If they are in a corporation, they may have to coordinate internal big data projects; in smaller settings, data generated by project teams can be monitored with specific solutions.

The tool: Apache Hadoop

logo Hadoop

Hadoop, from Apache, is the well-known programming framework for distributed data analytics.

Apache Hadoop is the better known software for distributed data analytics.

Pros: The sheer amount of references of documentation that you can fin don Hadoop has no end.

Cons: Compared to all the suggestions above, it’s a programming language, and not a finished product –it may escape the authority and skillset of the PMO team.

<style><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> input{<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> -webkit-border-radius: 5px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> -moz-border-radius: 5px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> border-radius: 5px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> border: none;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> width: 90%;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->}<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> input[type=text]{<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> background-color: #e3e3e3;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> -webkit-background-color: #e3e3e3;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> -moz-background-color: #e3e3e3;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> padding: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> margin: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> }<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> button {<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> background-color: #fd9b0b;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> border: none; <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> text-transform: uppercase;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> padding: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> border-radius: 4px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> margin-left: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> }<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> button:hover {<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> background-color: #ffaa01;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> color: white;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> }<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> select{<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> border-radius: 4px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> margin: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> padding: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> width: 90%;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> }<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> input[type=checkbox]{<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> width: 20px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> }<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> textarea{<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> -webkit-border-radius: 5px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> -moz-border-radius: 5px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> border-radius: 5px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> padding: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> margin: 10px;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> width: 90%;<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> }<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </style> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <h3 align="center">Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox</h3><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><form accept-charset="UTF-8" action="" class="infusion-form" id="inf_form_45c6f51d6d07fd794d8eadcbf1a4514c" method="POST"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_form_xid" type="hidden" value="45c6f51d6d07fd794d8eadcbf1a4514c" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_form_name" type="hidden" value="Blog Newsletter ENG" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="infusionsoft_version" type="hidden" value="" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <div class="infusion-field"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input class="infusion-field-input" id="inf_field_Email" name="inf_field_Email" placeholder="Email *" type="text" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <div class="infusion-field"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <span class="infusion-option"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input id="inf_option_Consenttoprivacypolicy" name="inf_option_Consenttoprivacypolicy" type="checkbox" value="2471" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <label for="inf_option_Consenttoprivacypolicy">I agree to ITM Platform's <a href="" target="_blank">privacy policy</a></label><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </span><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_field_LanguageTag" type="hidden" value="en" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_GaContent" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_GaMedium" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_IPAddress" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_GaTerm" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_GaCampaign" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_GaReferurl" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <input name="inf_custom_GaSource" type="hidden" value="null" /><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <div> </div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <div class="infusion-submit"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <button type="submit">Submit</button><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --></form><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><script type="text/javascript" src=""></script><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><meta name="twitter:site" content="@itmplatform"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><meta name="twitter:creator" content="@itmplatform"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><meta name="twitter:title" content="The 7 most useful apps for PMOs"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><meta name="twitter:description" content="As a PMO officer you probably haven’t thought of all these apps to help you manage your project portfolio."><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><meta name="twitter:image" content="">

character - system administrator, tools, cloud, cableIt's not news that Chief Information Officers tend to be considered the directors of all technological projects in an organization.

In fact, in the mid 90s it was understood that project managers could not simply undertake assignments, but should have a comprehensive commitment to the organization's systems strategy. It was then that something similar was proposed: that the PMO directors have a very similar role to the CIOs.

With the consolidation of project management offices in all types of organizations and the emergence of good start-up and operation practices, PMOs have become a clear model for the management of internal projects in large corporations. For this reason, it is also worth remembering the contrary statement: that the CIOs lead the PMO of internal technology projects.

Take charge of your systems strategy with ITM Platform

Lack of definition of the CIO: strategy vs. day to day

It is very difficult to define in detail what is being done by a Chief Information Officer (CIO). There are those who say that they are, quite simply, a budget manager. Although this is a good joke, it is a very imprecise statement: any CIO is primarily responsible for the strategy, practices and policies of an organization's information systems.

That said, the day to day activities of each CIO is very different, varying depending on the industry, the country, the size of the company and the personality of the managers who are above.

In fact, top management's expectations about what a CIO should do is probably the most weighty aspect. It is very different that a General Manager wants to have a CIO to materialize the vision of the business thanks to a technology expert to rely on a system manager to respond as quickly as possible to all their requirements. That's the big difference between a CIO as a top manager and a CIO as a responsible one. Exaggerating a little from this distinction, it can be said that there are two types of CIO: those who do not have time to supervise daily operations, and those who do not have time to get out of them.

At bottom, every CIO is between two worlds: top management, which focuses on long-term vision and value creation for investors; And the day-to-day management of technology, which includes aspects such as:

  • Technology purchase
  • Damage limitation and planning for possible disasters
  • Staff planning, including training
  • Creation of new systems
  • Integration and maintenance of existing systems

When the organization is small enough, the CIO can take care of all these aspects; but from a certain size it must rely on a delegation system, laying down rules and procedures for others to assume those responsibilities within a unified framework.

The aspiration of every CIO is probably to establish this frame of reference to be able to dedicate themselves to directing the strategy and to be involved with the direction of the company that counts its counterparts in great multinationals, as for example, one of the great pharmaceutical companies. In the words of Paul Burfitt, CIO of Astra Zeneca until 2006, the work of the CIO is to create frames of reference (policies, standards and strategies) that allow each subsidiary to act on its own, in an empowered way. In the meantime, the CIO is dedicated to designing priorities, objectives and goals, combining in any case the business perspective and that of information systems.

Why the CIO carries a PMO of systems projects

In that difficult balance between day-to-day and strategy is where the CIO's comparison with the leader of a PMO fits perfectly.

It is easy to understand if we ask ourselves the following question: What are the CIO's responsibilities in project management?

  • Combine demand with capacity

Requests for improvements in internal computer systems, databases, management modules, CRM, etc., always grow faster than the ability to generate such improvements. The development of new software and the integration of different technologies are long and costly processes.

For this reason, one of the first responsibilities of the CIO is to ensure that there is capacity to cover the projects to be started and that the resources allocated have the necessary technical knowledge. Hence the importance of comprehensive resource planning.

  • Know when to say NO

As the demand for technical work will always exceed capacity, every CIO must know how to say no to ideas, requests, and requirements. For this, it is essential to have guidelines and policies that allow prioritizing and bringing the technology of the organization to its next state.

Likewise, strategic PMOs offer tools and tools for decision-making, which projects need to be started and which are not important enough to go from mere drafting. Sometimes the PMO even has sufficient authority to make such decisions.

  • Generate the right expectations

When internal policies and strategic plans communicate properly, different departments are more likely to know what to expect from their requests and what kinds of ideas are most likely to be included in the project portfolio.

  • Involve departments requesting change

Agile culture has demonstrated that the success of internal technology projects depends on the degree of commitment of the project sponsors. For technology strategy to match growth prospects, many CIOs make sure that each department is held responsible for the success of the ideas it proposes. In this way, unnecessary requests and ideas whose consequences have not been properly analyzed are avoided.

A PMO has very similar responsibilities, serving as a coordinating body so that all parties involved in the projects collaborate proactively, and offer more business context to project managers to understand the motivation behind each new requirement.

In short, both the CIO and the PMO have the functions of coordinating, monitoring, unifying, evaluating and selecting an organization's project portfolio. The fundamental difference between the two is that the PMO rests very closely on project management methodologies, while the CIO is more responsive to what the organization requires, its strategy and technological challenges. Both roles can be combined productively.

Moreover, responsibilities also come closer to the level of training, continuous learning and the transfer of knowledge. As both the CIO and the PMO have a cross-sectional dimension, routine, conformism and watertight compartments are their greatest enemies.

Benefits of addressing the work of the CIO from the PMO:

CIOs who choose to embrace the idea that they actually have a PMO, even if it is embryonic, can benefit from the following elements:

  • Adopt portfolio methodologies to monitor, evaluate and select projects
  • Have clear criteria to prioritize the work according to the value it brings to the business. An agile PMO can manage the backlog of requirements dynamically, adapting to the circumstances to maximize the value delivered to the client.
  • In addition, project governance represented by the PMO allows the CIO to leave the field of reactive work to defend the strategic importance of its profile, approaching the CTO. Although this gives another article, it is about imagining the future and moving towards a vision from the means that gives the domain of technology.

Of course, the relationship between the CIO and the PMO is variable. It may be a direct dependency, but there are also organizations where the CIO advises the PMO: By being the owner of the strategy and having a much more direct contact with customers and generating value, it can help PMO and Project managers are put in the place of the clients and make the project's own goal through empathy.

Objective: to enter the steering committee

According to a study by Russam GMS, only 2% of the steering committees have a CIO. And that despite the fact that it is a generalized aspiration of this profile with clear benefits when deciding the direction of a business adventure.

The isolation of the top representative of information systems from top management is another point of resemblance to PMOs: very few organizations admit the PMO director to the committee, considering everything that has to do with the direction of the PMOs. Projects at a lower level than the executive.

However, both the CIO and the PMO display their maximum organizational capacities when they have as their mission to design and maintain governance systems.

When project governance is incorporated into the steering committee, project performance is maximized and the contribution of projects to the organization's objectives.

When the CIO that joins the committee not only monitors technological governance, but is involved in project governance, the organization will be laying the foundations to achieve maximum strength as a digital actor. A real demon for the competition.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


software development design development implement analyzeA project management office (PMO) can fulfill multiple functions related to the supervision of an organization's project portfolio, often with managerial functions and with a strategic orientation that is added to the simple control and monitoring layer.

However, it is not clear what an agile PMO is or how it is structured. It is becoming increasingly urgent to clarify this aspect, since many teams and even entire organizations, especially in the field of software and application development, rely entirely on agile methodologies such as SCRUM.

Before entering into the matter, it is necessary to clarify three different senses of what can be understood by agile PMO.

Disambiguation: What do we mean by agile?

An agile PMO can refer to several situations, such as:

1. The agile implementation of a PMO

As the start-up process is long, complex and may have difficulties in demonstrating its benefits to stakeholders with a high capacity for influence, some experts advise that the start-up approach be agile and be protected from criticism towards a structure that it is not working 100% yet. In addition, it is possible that the difference stakeholders do not agree on what should be the role of the PMO in the organization, in which case their scrutiny on the development of the implementation will necessarily be uneven.


To combat this disadvantage, a PMO whose implementation is conceived as an agile project must deliver processes and functions useful for the operation of the PMO in a continuous and early manner.

The measure of the progress of the project, as is logical, is given by the functionality of the PMO itself.

An agile implementation is usually characterized by an initial diagnostic phase, followed by phases of planning, execution and closure that can be iterated several times until the PMO has the desired maturity.

However, in the first iteration of the execution, the PMO already assumes characteristics that allow it to operate in one or more of its functions.

2. The role of a PMO whose objectives is to manage the project portfolio following agile principles

It is not essential to have adopted SCRUM throughout the organization so that we are interested in benefiting from some of the advantages of agile principles at the corporate level.

For example, the agility applied to the entire portfolio of projects allows for early decisions and rectifies the initial planning of projects when the context that justifies them is modified.

3. The role of a PMO in an organization that has exclusively adopted agile project management methodologies

What happens when an organization that worked with classical methodologies or waterfall becomes guided by SCRUM or other agile methodologies?

What is the role of the PMO in this new situation? Is the mission aborted and the office deleted, or is it given a new meaning?

The cultural and change management role of the PMO can be fully maintained. In the new context, the PMO facilitates the deployment of the agile culture in the different areas of the organization.

The predominant areas are the following:

  • Training: includes training new people in agile methodologies, preparing meetings and workshops, deepening for key embers, as well as coaching services.
  • Work monitoring: although the agile philosophy is very horizontal and does not require so much external control, a PMO can support the performance of the teams helping them to manage the backlog, offering clarity in the performance of the teams through an impartial external vision, and helping to that the documentation that works in the organization is productive and does not produce unnecessary work.
  • Interlocution with the business: One of the fundamental aspects of the manifest agile is the constant efforts to understand the need of the client and guide the work to the delivery of utility. In internal projects, it is essential that there is a well-oiled transmission chain with those who administer the corporate strategy so that they know that the engineering teams are working on the most critical aspects and that they deliver the most value to the business.

Next, we detail better what the work of an agile PMO consists of in this last case.

Save time and money by connecting your agile projects to a comprehensive overview of all your costs and resources.

The nuance is important, as our readers are well aware that managing agile projects involves ongoing guidance to customer requirements and very frequent evaluation cycles. The question is how the responsibilities of methodological guidance, centralization, control and direction of the PMO can be connected in these cyclical structures, maintaining customer orientation and business perspective.

The fundamental risk, let's face it, is to create a small bureaucratic monster that coagulates methodological demands without adding value.

Failures in the conception of a PMO

The main problem arises when, in order to achieve agile projects, an attempt has been made to establish rules of action that have merely pigeonholed and limited decision-making.

Despite falling under the range of agility, SCRUM requires the production of a lot of documentation with a very high frequency, including the requirements of user stories.

A recurring error when creating PMO in agile environments is utilizing them as centralized offices that impose internal policies and norms. Keep in mind that circumscription to certain standards at work can marry poorly with the completion of certain complex projects. There is the risk of restricting the freedom of action and the margin of manoeuvre that are fundamental to produce value in all sprints.

A PMO cannot be confused with merely a controlling body that seeks to fit agile projects into tactics, methodologies and master projects of the manager that have been preconceived without special attention to the changing nature of agile projects.

First correct interpretation of the agile PMO

In contrast to the centralized and bureaucratic PMO, the most attractive in an agile environment is the performance of a facilitation function.

This can be done by establishing recommendations to help manage the workload, distinguishing between priority and ancillary tasks, helping project managers determine how much they can rely on experts, and even set basic standards of performance and work ethics that are in line with the values and mission of the organization. So that all projects, besides providing value to the client, are oriented to the common benefit and growth and consolidation of the organization.

One difficulty of any multi-project organization is the barrier to sharing knowledge, both within the same project team and between different projects. In the first case, the difficulty is that the experience and specialization accumulated by the veterans is not limited to the tasks they perform - which would create bottlenecks; In the second, the difficult thing is that the experience in the development of a project is not forgotten with its completion, but rather to increase the experience accumulated by the organization.

An agile PMO, among other things, faces the specific knowledge challenges that hinder operational improvement in agile performance.

And one of the main goals of an agile PMO is to make all parts of the organization that take part in a project as a unit, as a team, and even as a team of teams. In this sense, it is important that whoever is going to coordinate the work of the PMO accredits the following virtues:

- Relationships. Good contact with leaders of other departments as well as people integrated into other projects.

- Trust. Openness in dealing with those who are going to influence the project is key to its success.

- Experience. Undoubtedly, having previously faced similar projects provides sufficient evidence to address future projects.

The goals of an PMO agile

Once we have analyzed some guidelines of an agile PMO , we are going to offer you the primordial purposes of these organs. Take note.

Try ITM Platform for free

1. Manage new project entries

It makes no sense to approve projects above the delivery capacity of development teams. The PMO can function as the housekeeper to resist the temptation to start projects too soon. You have to wait to finish projects to start others of equal size.

2. Validation of the planning rules

The probability of unexpected and unnecessary changes must be reduced to the maximum, due to the overall understanding of the program.

3. Creation of training programs

Training is fundamental so that the knowledge of the equipment is truly complementary and there are no empty areas. The detection of gaps should be the basis for proposing training to members.

4. Limit waste

Only the PMO will have aggregated information on where time and effort is wasted. It is possible that different projects have similar patterns that point to the inefficiency of the processes. Drawing attention to them is the first step to rectifying them.

5. Delivery report

Reporting to consolidate an accredited view of the status of part of a project or its overall vision will facilitate the interpretation as to whether the affairs of the organization are being carried out in the most functional way. Without going further, conclusions that can be drawn from these reports may become important in the allocation of personnel for certain tasks or working schedules.

6. Business rules related to the benefits of the project

When making a commitment on a project, it is imperative to keep in mind that there are minimum results that have to be fulfilled. This duty also facilitates the adjustment to content that is compatible with existing quality projects. A uniformity that you do not have to understand as negative, but as an orientation towards excellence.

7. Validation of a resource plan

Every project requires a realistic allocation of resources. You have to keep in mind that the amount of resources of an organization will always be insufficient to delivering all the projects that can be generated, hence it is necessary to select, analyze conscientiously and not to precipitate. The allocation must be reasonable (it is fundamental to minimize the risks) and must be based on the fact that, in a final global calculation, the investment and achievement are compensated.

In short, we hope this text has helped you understand how an agile PMO has to works.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


business concept of hierarchy of management structure. vector illustration.

In addition to the "weather station" and the "control tower", Casey and Peck distinguish a third type of Project Management Office: the "pool of resources". Often, this type of PMO is more simply named by its directive capacity.

In fact, the fundamental difference with the previous types of PMO are its managerial features, since it is dedicated to coordinate projects, components and programs of an organization.



Its direction can have two different reaches:

  • The most ambitious, is where the PMO extends to all projects of an organization.
  • However, it can also be more targeted, and focus only on transversal projects involving several departments, leaving more routine or restricted projects in the hands of a specific project manager.

How to organize the structure of a directive PMO

In a directive PMO, the project managers work directly for the PMO: the PMO assigns the projects, to which they have to direct the reports, and is the one that supervises their actions. Therefore, the directive PMO must diversify and prioritize its team of project managers: those who work for the PMO will have a more marked profile as supervisors and managers, while the subordinates will be closer to the daily execution.

On the other hand, the employees of the company can be organized in two ways:

  • One possibility is that they are part of the PMO itself. This system is valid in cases where all or almost all the work carried out by the company is in the form of projects.

  • The other possibility is that they are formally non-project workers, even if their work contributes to some. This approach is used in companies with a more operational profile and a smaller proportion of the work is devoted to projects.

Download the PMO ebook, ITM Platform

Functions of a directive PMO

The most characteristic functions have to do with the coordination of talent:

  • Develop and maintain a sufficient and well-formed project manager template to manage all the company's projects.
  • Organize contributions from independent workers.
  • Assign the necessary human resources to each project, prioritizing in case of conflict according to business criteria.

Although these are the most defining functions, the directive PMO shares functions with other, simpler types of PMOs. These include:

  • Reduce costs by centralizing services.
  • Ensure adequate communication between team members and the organization of project management through the regular issuance of structured and complete reports.
  • Encourage the adoption of methodologies, standards, processes and tools that allow the management of projects to be completed efficiently.

How to control the efficiency of a directive PMO

Since the directive PMO is in charge of managing all the projects, it is difficult to evaluate if the work is being carried out properly. If it is the PMO itself that has to evaluate its performance, it is possible that bias will appear in the assessment and, although this is not the case, there can always be doubt about the potential conflict of interest.

There are some solutions that can be adopted in these cases.

  • Contract the services of an external audit. This way, you are guaranteed to obtain bias exempt reports in which both the positive aspects of project management and the negative ones are evaluated.

  • Generate an independent audit within the organization itself. To do this, a group of project managers should be set up outside the active projects, that can evaluate their efficiency in management.

  • Develop a rotating system for project managers. This is a methodology widely used in companies that have adopted the ISO 9000 quality standards. When a director does not take care of the management of a particular project, he can be assigned to the evaluation of the active projects. This is a very complete option, since the rotation of project managers ensures that they keep the two points of view constantly.

Should I incorporate a directive PMO in my company?

There are divided opinions among experts when recommending this type of PMO.

On the one hand, some argue that it is the best solution for the management of a company, since it guarantees maximum efficiency in all departments and projects. In case other systems already exist, a gradual evolution towards a leading PMO is suggested, since it is the most complete management method.

On the other hand, the directive PMO runs the risk of being invasive of existing work systems and appear as a structure that seeks to appropriate all departments or aspects of management within a company.

Therefore, prior to the implementation of a directive PMO in a company, it should be assessed if its profile and that of its employees allow for an appropriate introduction. Otherwise, one solution is to adopt other less demanding type of PMO and progressively evolve towards this type of PMO.

Try ITM Platform for free

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


airport terminal, airport with control tower ,In this blog series we have already spoken about the different types of PMO following the classification of Casey and Peck in 2001, and the tracking function as a "weather station".

When the PMO acquires authority to establish action guidelines, its function can be compared with that of a control tower that establishes when a project can be placed on the runway, deploy the flight and know what the conditions will be of the environment and competition for airspace (ie equipment time and funding).

The control PMO, however, not only makes decisions to guide projects. If the “weather station” measures, the control tower defines procedures and standards. It then monitors its compliance and seeks improvements.


Download the PMO ebook, ITM Platform

While it is always important to recognize the differences that each PMO must include to fit its parent organization, these are some of the typical functions of a control project management office:

1. Establishes standards for project management

Every project must meet standards that serve as a reference and which should be adjusted as much as possible from the initiation phase. It is recommended that the standards be flexible and allow a certain adaptation to the circumstances that may be present during the project. Standards can refer to different areas, such as:

  • Information and nomenclature. PMOs often provide report templates that allow the information to be treated in a homogeneous way, facilitating their comparison and analysis between projects. It is convenient to establish what types of reports are provided, the frequency with which they are issued and the structure they present.

  • Risks. What can be presented at what time, what is the probability that they will occur and what impact they may have on the project.

  • Configuration of the project or organization. This entails the establishment of responsibilities for each of the people involved in the project, so that important milestones and decisions are taken by the responsible parties in the shortest possible time and with all relevant information.

It is good practice for standards to strike a balance between structuring and facilitating work: they must be sufficiently elaborate to capture the complexity of the organization without falling into bureaucratic excesses. It is about making things simple, for everyone to be clear about what to do, how to do it, what their responsibilities are, and who to communicate their results, their doubts or the problems that may arise.

2. See how to meet the established standards

This consultation should have two approaches:

  • External focus. Document techniques for measuring risks, quantifying the progress of a project ... See similar cases in other companies and try to apply them to your specific situation.

  • Internal focus. Make sure that all team members and staff of your company understand and know how to implement the standards you have established. On the other hand, involve them in the detection of errors and in the suggestion of improvements. Everyone should feel part of the team in which they participate and collaborate in their success. A close view, from within, provided by the workers themselves, is an irreplaceable resource.

3. It promotes the compliance and the elevation of the standards

Organizations with a culture of advanced quality will find it easier to take this step. It is also important to consider incentives for those who strive to do their work to the best of their ability, for example, by including the adoption of standards in staff reviews.

4. Participates actively in the improvement of standards

In addition to rewarding those workers who suggest ideas that allow to improve the established standards, from the own direction of the project office it is necessary to work actively in its improvement. Accumulated management data is a great starting point for improvement. It will be important to consider what programs and areas of activity may suffer most from the adoption of change, to cushion the shock through raising awareness.

Process of implementing a control PMO

As with any other change management process that affects the entire organization, the beginning can be quite difficult.

However, there are some factors that help facilitate the process:

  • An extended recognition of the shortcomings for which it was decided to create the office

  • Leadership shared between senior management, middle managers and the management of the new PMO

  • The adoption of complete but simple software such as ITM Platform, which allows organizing projects in programs and analyzing complex information in a unified way.

Try ITM Platform for free

If these conditions are not available, or if implementation difficulties are high, it may be advisable to start with a set of more basic functions, related to the centralization of information and the facilitation of decisions.

Being rigorous and exhaustive in the data collection allows you to gain the trust of the clients and the managers, who will later be more likely to adopt the changes proposed by the PMO, that could introduce new management systems for projects gradually.


Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox