A Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within a business, agency or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance and metrics on the practice of project management and execution.

In some organisations this is known as the Program Management Office (sometimes abbreviated to PgMO to differentiate); the subtle difference is that program management relates to governing the management of several related projects. Traditional PMOs base project management principles on industry-standard methodologies such as PMBOK or PRINCE2. Increasingly influential industry certification programs such as ISO9000 and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) as well as government regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley have propelled organizations to standardize processes[citation needed].

Organizations around the globe are defining, borrowing and collecting best practices in process and project management and are increasingly assigning the PMO to exert overall influence and evolution of thought to continual organizational improvement[citation needed]. According to the Standish CHAOS Report (2009)[citation needed], 68% of projects do not meet time/cost/scope targets. Only 32% of projects were completed on time, within budget and delivered measurable business and stakeholder benefits. There are many reasons for such failures. As per a KPMG survey[citation needed] of 252 organizations, technology is not the most critical factor.

Inadequate project management implementation constitutes 32% of project failures, lack of communication constitutes 20% and unfamiliarity with scope and complexity constitutes 17%. Accordingly 69% of project failures are due to lack and/or improper implementation of project management methodologies. Establishing a PMO group is not a short term strategy to lower costs. [1] Surveys with companies indicates that the longer they have an operating PMO group the better the results achieved to accomplish project goals (which might lead to lowering costs)[citation needed].

PMOs may take other functions beyond standards and methodology, and participate in Strategic Project Management either as facilitator or actively as owner of the Portfolio Management process. Tasks may include Monitoring and Reporting on active projects (following up project until completion), and reporting progress to top management for strategic decisions on what projects to continue or cancel. A PMO can be one of three types from an organizational exposure perspective: enterprise PMO, organizational (departmental) PMO, or special–purpose PMO.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) Program Management Office Community of Practice (CoP), views the PMO as a strategic driver for organizational excellence and seeks to enhance the practices of execution management, organizational governance, and strategic change leadership[citation needed]. As the largest community devoted to the PMO, with over 4,000 members globally, the PMO CoP is the central forum to collaborate, expand the knowledge base, and mature the PMO practice within their own organizations and the business community at large.