At each of  PMO Life Cycle phases the PMO functions and focus are different. As project management maturity increases the PMO moves to a higher phase, from supporting individual projects with standards and methods, to supporting senior management in alignment to strategic objectives, project selection and prioritization.

PMO Maturity and Focus Lifecyle

Understanding any PMO as a snapshot in its life cycle, or as at a stage determined by the organization’s project management maturity may help explaining the differences in functions found in PMOs. PMOs that have only started in an organization that doesn’t have sufficient PM expertise may follow a Lite or Supporter model; while it seems logical that in organizations where PM practice is extended and mature, senior management demand and expect more from the PMO, perhaps in getting support for portfolio management and for strategic alignment of programs/portfolios to business objectives. The PMO evolves from crawling to walking, and it does so in co-evolution with its host organization.

However, not all PMOs need to evolve to the final maturity stage. In fact, PMOs may be successful by maintaining the stage where they achieve their objectives and real needs.