Defining the PMO's mission is no easy task, so much the mission can vary depending on the client and on the context. A PMO's activities include monitoring, the control and management of his portfolio's projects. He can have the responsibility of forming good teams and of defining the process to continuously evaluate his portfolio, his project.
There are several«types» of PMO :
The PMO Projet has as main task the maintenance of the schedule on behalf of the project board. Every week the PMO goes around the teams (or more often at certain moments of the project), to collect the progress and what remains to be done. However one should note that his role does not interfere with the one of project manager : the PMO warns the project manager when a task goes out of control, but in principal does not have the authority to challenge what remains to be done.
Another function generally assigned to the PMO within a project is the collection of indicators and the preparation of status reports.
The main mission of the SupportPMO is to provide to projects the steering tools, with of course support and training if necessary. The steering tools are very variable (Excel, MSProject, personal tool etc....).
The Support PMO can have an interesting role to play in harmonising the project steering practices, by providing to project managers different models, depending on the tool.
Within a very broad programme, the Support PMO can play a coordinating role between the different teams by especially ensuring the smooth running of the coordination and progress meetings.
The Department or "Entity" PMO is in charge of the reporting to the top management : he consolidates the reports of each project to create a summary report. Beforehand, it is necessary to have defined a standard model of project report, with a set of indicators common to all the projects ; these indicators can be quantitative (such as the progress calculated according to the rule of acquired value) and / or qualifying, depending on the organisation's level of maturity. It is often found a synthetic indicator of project health, under the form of smileys, traffic lights or weather symbols.
The Strategic PMO intervenes beforehand in the choice of projects. As the resources available to a Department of Information are not unlimited, it is fundamental to know how to identify and prioritise projects to be launched. The Strategic PMO will provide to the management the necessary tools to handle a project portfolio. It is necessary to have available both these quantitative (cost, charge, duration...) and qualifying criteria (prioritised work need, regulatory requirement, ...).
These different levels of intervention can be grouped together into one and same position depending on the client context.