Project Management Office In Medium To Large Firms Construction Essay

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The purpose of this essay is to determine the role of the Project Management Office (PMO) within medium to large construction firms. Throughout this essay I will give a critical analysis of the PMO, firstly stating what the role of the PMO consists of, why the PMO is vital and the advantages and disadvantages that it brings to any company. After much research, it came to my knowledge that the PMO is a necessity within the workplace in order to undertake and complete tasks, this will be shown in great detail as follows.

The Project Management Office

The PMO is a body which consists of professional personnel within a company who define, maintain and monitor particular policies and processes to which the company follow while undertaking a project. This in turn sets guidance for the duration of each task and aims to improve the overall processes involved while managing and carrying out the project. The main goal of the PMO is to improve project performance.

The PMO should be separated into the four stages to ensure a successfully executed project. The first stage known as the 'Project planning stage' is developed to describe the tasks that will lead to the completion of the project. The extent of the project, the timescale in which it must be completed and the resources needed to carry out the project are all to be determined at this stage.

The second stage known as 'Project Scheduling' involves breaking each phase into fine detail in order to position particular targets within the project.

The third stage in the PMO is known as the 'Risk Analysis' and is carried out to ensure that the company is prepared for any potential problems that may occur during the duration of the project. The probability and severity of such problems arising are determined, and control measures are set in place if these problems were to occur.

While the project is being carried out, all stages are monitored to ensure that each step in the planning stage is being followed in order to avoid complications arising. This stage is known as 'Project Tracking'. Tracking ensures that the company is not going over budget, is on-time with each phase and that the correct resources are being utilised.

At the start of each project it is the company's priority to carry out and complete the task to a remarkable standard. A successful PMO must be put in place in order to do this. A successfully run PMO has the role of defining a set of standards, guidelines and methods which are to be utilised for the duration of the project. This in turn will improve project management within the company, complete projects on-time and within budget, ensure quality throughout the project, improve communication between all personnel involved and improve decision making in order for the project to reach its goals.

It is also important to note that the PMO can aid each project by analysing previous executed work. Each construction task differs, however, previous similar projects can be evaluated as guidance for the present project and managed in a similar approach to ensure complete project satisfaction. The PMO allows the company to collect information on these previous projects and store them for the use of future projects. This information therefore, is valuable in the sense of allowing any future projects to learn from any succession or failure from previous projects.

It is critical that the role of the PMO is clear and understood by all personnel within the construction company in order to avoid difficulties arising. If the role of the PMO is not distinct it may result in tasks being completed incorrectly or completely overseen resulting in major errors and delay within the project.

It is important to differentiate the role of the project manager and the Project Management Office in order to fully understand how the PMO operates. The roles of the PMO and the project manager are clearly different, however, they are both necessary in ensuring success of each project. The project manager undertakes the role of managing and delivering the project, whereas the PMO aids the project managers in achieving these goals.

The PMO is responsible for training and mentoring the project managers within the company. The main purpose for this is to build an effective relationship between each project manager involved in order to allow them to correctly communicate and support each other for the duration of the project. This in turn will improve project success.

Below I have constructed a table which simply shows the difference between a project manager and the PMO roles within a company.

Project Management Office

Project Manager







Plan (strategic/tactical)


Manage project knowledge







After much research of the PMO, I have discovered that it is a key component to making projects work within a construction company. The precise roles and responsibilities of the PMO differ within each construction company. It depends on the needs of the company and the needs of the project. However, a successfully run PMO ensures high quality work with less risks involved within the project. If a project is not carried out correctly using specifics standards and processes then there is no guarantee of success. The PMO aids those within the company to constantly monitor all phases involved in the project to ensure that it is on track, will be carried out on-time, on-budget and most importantly that quality is shown throughout.