EPMO or PMO: Is there a Difference?

Jan 10, 2015 17:14

We hold a controversial view that all PPM environments are the same; across the globe, whether they originate in IT or the business and regardless of the industry, the type or size of projects they execute or to whom they report.  Same goes for EPMOs (PMOs).

pmo_hierarchyEPMO to PMO structures often fail because of the local-versus-global conundrum. Implementing the EOM breaks this impasse and brings common management across all project environments whilst promoting efficiency and allowing tailored offerings that match the needs of divisional or subsidiary PMOs.

Debate rages about a PMO should be “Strategic” or “Enterprise” or “Administrative” or “Cross-functional” or “Tactical”. Our view is that this debate is, at best, pointless and worst, capital and resource wasting.  In every organisation, across every industry, there are only three types of “MOs”: An Enterprise PMO (the “Mothership”) that owns and operates the POMA and the EOM and a divisional (IT and/or business, either operational) or Program-specific PMO.

Enterprise PMO: An EPMO owns the PPM Operating Model (OM) and operates under the EPMO Operating Model and utilises the PPM functional disciplines and administrative methods within both operating models to provide a common view and management of all the initiatives and actions required of projects.  Often, this involves multiple PMOs reporting to a single EPMO. In the process, the EPMO maximises control and co-ordination among the entire portfolio of projects and enhances adaptability to changes in strategy and business environment. To optimise decision-making, management receives real-time access to project value and performance information.

Program or Project Management Offices:  PMO models are applied depending on the size, cost and complexity of the project portfolio within its operational unit (IT or business) and the needs of that unit’s project environment.  The key to a successful subsidiary or divisional PMO lies in effectively aligning its size, scope, structure and capabilities with the PPM Operating Model and the unique needs of its project types (IT-centric, pure IT or business/IT mix, program-specific) and the divisional unit it serves.  In effect, the PMO selects the processes, methodologies and frameworks it requires from within the Operating Model and aligns its operation to the EPMO. The EPMO remains the hierarchical controller of the PMO, although the PMO often has a number of operational reporting lines.

Simlarly, there is no such thing as an infrastructure PMO or a technical PMO or a business PMO; they are all the same PMO operating from the same nimble, precise, efficient and cost effective Operating Model.

To reap the full benefit of EPMOs and PMOs, organisations must transform their thinking and move to a minimalist approach to administering, governing and managing their PPM environments.  They must embrace EPMO as a critical and core organisational capability whilst demanding more of the EPMO as a reliable source of organisational value. Ultimately, the power of PPM and EPMOs hinges on the full and enthusiastic participation of executives who are not afraid to champion the control and discipline required of the sophistication of PPM.

They will also demand more of PPM consultants and the IP and experience they bring. Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the processes, business rules, frameworks and methodology themselves.



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