According to the definition in Project Management Institute (PMI) PMBOK Fifth Edition, the Project Management Office (PMO) is a management structure that standardizes the project related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of one or more projects.
- In a supporting role the PMO is more consultative in nature. The goal is to provide templates, best practices, training, and a knowledge base including lessons learned from previous portfolios, programs or projects. The PMO's primary role is more as a document control center with a low level of control.
- In a controlling role the PMO is more focused on auditing. This ensures portfolios, programs or projects are following recommended methodologies, best practices, standards, processes, etc. The PMO's primary role is to maintain compliance across portfolios, programs or projects with a moderate level of control.
- In a directive role the PMO is more management focused. Involved in the organization's portfolios, programs and projects, the PMO's primary role is identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, and managing with a high level of control.