Change management

Changes and change management practicies. The research consists in studying Project Management Office roles and functions in change management activities held in the companies. Compare the Project Management Office roles and change management models.

Рубрика Менеджмент и трудовые отношения
Вид дипломная работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 05.07.2016
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Change management

Table of Contents

  • Introduction. Relevance of the study. Research subject. Research object. Research goalsю. Limitations of the study. Paper plan
  • Chapter 1. Changes and change management practicies
    • 1.1 Organizational changes: terminology and typology
    • 1.2 Change management practices and models
    • 1.3 Resistance to change and managing resistance
  • Chapter 2. PMO, roles and functions
    • 2.1 Terminology and typology
    • 2.2 PMO functions and tasks
  • Chapter 3. Integration of PMO and change mangement research
    • 3.1 Comparative analysis
    • 3.2 Field research
    • 3.3 Research findings and results
      • 4. Companies' overview
      • 5. Changes' overview
      • 6. PMO functions used in change management process
      • 7. Existing change management functions of PMOs
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
    • Appendix
  • Introduction. Relevance of the study. Research subject. Research object. Research goalsю. Limitations of the study. Paper plan

Relevance of the study

Being a social system any organization, permanent or temporary, change. Already quite for a long time projects and programs have been considered as a way of organizing change (Bresnen, 2006; Cicmil, 1999; Biedenbach and Soderholm, 2008; Pellegrinelli, 1997). However, while a significant research has been conducted in both project management and change management areas still there is lack of interaction between them (Gareis, 2010; Parker et al., 2013). Change management literature usually does not address the relationship between changes, projects and programs from operational perspective. While the literature on project management perceives changes to be managed just within projects or programs (Office of Government Commerce, 2007; Project Management Institute, 2009; Hwang, Low, 2012; Zhang, 2013). Just recently some attempts to establish relations between project management and change management have been made. From this new perspective projects and programs are perceived as organizations to manage the changes. In several works relations between changes and projects and different aspects of interaction between change management and project management, such as competencies for managing changes, HR practices, handling resistance etc. have been examined (Fiedler, 2012; Huemann, 2010).

However, one of the most recent and popular project management phenomenon, Project Management Office, still has not been examined from the change management perspective. It is necessary to mention that the implementation of PMO could be regarded as an important organizational change or PMO itself could be regarded as subject of change that has been recently addressed in a few studies (Hobbs et al., 2008; Aubry et al., 2010; Pellegrinelli and Garagna, 2009). However still the PMO is rarely seen as the agent of change. According to Pellegrinelli and Garagna, organizational changes increase the importance of project and program management that, in its turn, may lead to “the development of new roles and competencies or the re-establishment of a PMO” (2009, p.654). However still there is a gap between the notions of change management and Project management office and the relations between them are not examined.

Research subject

Thus, the general purpose of the study proposed is to try to fill the gap between the notions of Project management office and change management by drawing the line between them. More precisely, according to the problem mentioned above the research subject of the research consists in studying PMO roles and functions in change management activities held in the companies.

Research object

Subsequently, the research object is an organizational unit related to the project management functions called Project Management Office (PMO) or Project office. These and the other names are discussed more precisely in the following chapters.

Research goals

Within the broad purpose of the study mentioned above it will be necessary to:

1. Investigate the change management literature, describe the basic theoretical aspects of organizational changes, resistance to change and change management, identify the existing change management models

2. Examine previous research on PMO, identifying its types, roles and functions

3. Compare the PMO and change management models and reveal the possible relationships between them

4. Suggest the ways in which PMO could be applied to improvement of change management practices in organizations

Limitations of the study

Talking about the limitations of the study it is necessary to mention that during the survey it has been decided to limit the sample to the respondents that have personally participated in the change implementation. That has been done to enhance the quality of the information received and increase reliability of the data used in further analysis.

Paper plan

The following paper consists of five parts: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Conclusion.

The introduction part presents the background and relevance of the study, states its problem and determines the goals, the subject and the object, as well as the scope of the research.

The First Chapter is concerned with the basic theoretical aspects of organizational changes, change resistance and change management. The existing change models and their classification are described and discussed.

The Second Chapter touches upon the issue of PMO, its definitions, roles and functions in organizations, describe the classifications and theories existing. As well the possible relations between PMO and change management are shown and discussed.

The Third Chapter is dedicated to the methodology of the research, providing the integrative framework proposed on the basis of the literature analysis, description of the field research and results received. The main findings of the study are drawn and discussed; conclusions and recommendations are made.

Finally, in the Conclusion the main outcomes of the study proposed are summarized and discussed, suggestions about the further development of the research are proposed.

  • Chapter 1. Changes and change management practicies
    • 1.1 Organizational changes: terminology and typology
    • Just some time ago organizational changes were considered as a factor preventing enterprise performance. However, recently this paradigm has moved: nowadays changes are seen as a necessary process for successful development of the companies. According to the definition, change is “the movement of a company away from its present state toward some desired future state to increase its competitive advantage” (Hill and Jones, 2001, p. 486). Thus, change management could be defined as the process of continuous development of the company, its structure and abilities to adapt to continuously changing needs of internal and external consumers (By, 2005).
    • One of the earliest studies in this area is the classification of changes provided by Levy and Merry (1986). According to their study all changes could be divided into two groups: first- and second-order changes, the key difference between which lie in their size and speed of change. The first-order changes consist of “the improvements and adjustments that do not change the system's core, and occur as the system naturally grows and develops” (Levy, 1986, p. 5). In other words they do not break current organizational culture, do not contradict to existing norms and behaviors and usually characterize changes in functional processes. In contrary, the second-order changes are seen as a radical structural and cultural shift that influence several organizational parameters and level at the same time. Finally they lead to a new identity of the organization.
    • Some later researches distinguish various types of organizational changes on the basis of the frequency or so called rate of occurrence (Grundy, 1993; Luecke, 2003; Burnes, 2004; Balogun, Hailey, 2004; Senior, 2002). However, according to By, in fact, they just use the different terminology for describing the same approach. The key idea is that due to the frequency change types could vary from discontinuous to continuous ones.
    • Synthesizing the studies mentioned above By has proposed a classification according to which changes could be classified into discontinuous, incremental, bumpy incremental, continuous and bumpy continuous. According to Grundy's definition discontinuous change is “a change which is marked by rapid shifts in either strategy, structure or culture, or in all three” (Grundy, 1993, p.26). Talking about this kind of changes it's interesting to mention that almost all the contemporary authors conclude such changes do not bring sustainable benefits to the enterprise although it is employed in many initiatives. In contrary, the continuous changes represented as an ongoing process are suggested to be the best approach that allows to keep up with the fast-moving environment (Kotter, 1990; Burnes, 2004). Changes are supposed to be incremental when they are implemented by limited and negotiated shifts. In its turn, according to Grundy, incremental changes could be divided into smooth and bumpy. The first ones evolve slowly in a systematic way that is quite rare in the current environment according to Senior, while the last ones are punctuated by the relatively peaceful periods (punctuated equilibrium in Hailey's terminology). The main difference between continuous and incremental change consists in difference of level of changes: strategic and operational respectively. And, finally, bumpy continuous category can be defined to describe the type of continuous operational changes that could be punctuated by serenity periods (By, 2005). The summary and short comparison of the typologies existing is presented in the table below:

Table 1: Change characterized by the rate of occurrence (By, 2005)

Type of change

Balogun and Hope Hailey (2004)

Burnes (2004)

Grundy (1993)

Luecke (2003)

Senior (2002)



Smooth incremental

Bumpy incremental


Continuous incremental

Punctuated equilibrium














  • 1.2 Change management practices and models
    • If we move from the types of changes to change management practices it is also possible to distinguish different approaches. According to By (2005), four main approaches existing in literature could be defined: planned, emergent, contingency and choice. Usually the first two dominate the literature, however, there is still no consensus on the best one.
    • Planned change is a classical approach to change implementation with long history of research. Its main objective is to explain the process of change and to define the stages through which the enterprise should pass to get the necessary state. The first, highly recognized, planned change model has been proposed by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s. According to the model to get the planned results organization should pass through three stages of change: unfreezing, moving and re-freezing.
    • The main purpose of the first stage is to “thaw out existing structures and processes”, analyze current situation, describe the willing future state and identify the change drivers. The next stage is dedicated to initiating of necessary change actions that finish at the third stage which purpose is to fix and stabilize the new state (Lewin, 1947). It is necessary to highlight that despite the simplicity the model proposed has become a basic concept in questions of organizational changes and, in fact, it still has a great influence on the change perception (Garies, 2010).
    • Afterwards, a lot of models, developing the idea of Lewin's model, had been proposed. For instance, Bullock and Batten have suggested a four-stage model that splits the change process into exploration, planning, action and integration (Bullock and Batten, 1985).
    • However, in spite of its clarity the planned approach has become a subject to a harsh criticism since the 1980s. First of all, it is necessary to mention that such approach is vulnerable due to the high environmental turbulence, where it is hardly possible to plan change in detailed manner ex ante. In its turn, it could lead to several disadvantages like problems arising from limited foresight, possibility of relapse or large losses etc. (Weick, 2000; Burnes, 2004). The other point is that planned approach could not be efficient in crisis situations which usually require fast and radical changes and where common agreement of all the stakeholders could be hardly reached.
    • This criticism has led to appearance of the other, emergent approach to change management. This type assumes that changes could be characterized as having unpredictable and spontaneous traits that does not allow to plan and implement changes in a predefined way. Thus, the emergent approach could be seen not as the sequence of events or actions but as a continuous process of adaptation to the changing environment (Burnes, 1996; Dawson, 1994).
    • Moreover the advocators of the emergent approach highlight that due to the uncertainty and complexity of the internal and external environment of organization an enterprise should become an open learning system which is able to analyze information about environment and also has a deep understanding of the existing processes and culture and their impact on coming changes. So, it's possible to conclude that from emergent point of view the change process depends more on the readiness to change than on the predefined stages. Due to these assumptions some authors totally reject existence of any possible rules for change implementation.
    • However, some authors (Kanter et al. (1992), Kotter (1996) and Luecke (2003) propose quite well defined and “more practical guidance to managers” (Todnem, 2005, p. 375) about managing emergent changes.
    • The first model, called Ten Commandments for Executing Change has been proposed by Kanter et al. (1992) in 1992 and includes ten steps of change process. According to the author, the first step, which is analyzing the organization and its needs to change, should be followed by creation of common vision and directions, separating organization from the past and creation of sense of urgency. Next, a strong leadership and political sponsorship should be established, as well as the implementation plan should be created. To implement change successfully it also crucial to develop structures, establish communications, involve people and be transparent. Finally, at the final step change should be institutionalized.
    • Another model, called Seven Steps, which also consists of several stages of change implementation, has been suggested by Luecke (2003). The author recommends to start the process of changes from mobilizing energy and commitment through identification problems and solutions jointly with employees. As a result, at the next step a shared vision of how to organize and manage the change should be developed, as well, leadership should be identified. At the next, formalizing step policies, systems and structures should be developed to implement change. Finally during the implementation monitoring of the process and adapting the strategy to the issues emerging should be held.
    • However the most widely known model has become a John Kotter's model proposed in 1996. While elaborating this model author has investigated more than one hundred cases of change implementation and has defined eight major causes of change failures. Subsequently, these mistakes have been transformed into eight change steps which are: establish a sense of urgency, create a powerful guiding coalition, develop a vision and a strategy, communicate the vision, empower others to act on the vision, plan for and create short-term wins, consolidate improvement and produce more change, institutionalize new approaches.
    • According to the author about 50% of change initiatives fail just at the very beginning because it could be really difficult to communicate the importance and necessity of changes to managers and other associates and get the change program started. Thus, the first step of any change process should be establishing a sense of urgency. The key factor of success is a strong leader who clearly sees the need for a change and who is able to transfer this idea to other employees with the high degree of urgency.
    • The second step consists in creating a guiding coalition; its size could vary depending on the size of organization, however it should possess a high reputation and enough power that means and strong support from top management. The team should be motivated to work together, develop trust and communication and have a common understanding of problems and perspectives.
    • The most important tasks of this team are developing a vision and strategy of its implementation. Creating of the vision is a crucial point for the whole change initiative; otherwise, the whole strategy could turn into the chaotic, not aligned or even contradictory projects. Thus, the vision should be maximally implemented into the strategy and be translated through all the possible communication channels.
    • However, all the mentioned above is not enough in the case when an employee face various barriers while realizing the strategy. They could include existing organizational structure, motivation system etc. Such barriers should be eliminated and employees should be empowered to act on the vision.
    • Talking about motivation it's necessary to highlight the importance of planning short-term wins. Usually changes need to take time and people cannot see any results for a long time that demotivate them. Short wins encourage employees and motivate them to move on. However it is still important not to overestimate short wins, continuously improve the results of improvement, align them with vision and identify new challenges.
    • And, finally, at the last step the changes should be anchored in organizational culture. Kotter argues that especially important is to demonstrate how changes contribute to the success of the enterprise and create the means to ensure the understanding of changes by new leaders. Otherwise, all the efforts could be destroyed at once (Kotter, 1995).
    • Generally speaking the main idea of the Kotter consists in the assumption that successful change implementation depends mainly on high quality of leadership and appropriate motivation to overcome resistance. Afterwards, Frailinger and Fisher have developed this model by adding new stages to Kotter's model. Thus, the authors introduced the project management stage after vision transfer as a tool for realization of changes. In fact, adding of this stage makes the model closer to planned type; however, to overcome this the authors introduced the feedback as the last stage. It shows that the sequence of the stages is not obligatory. As well it's supposed that during the change process some control points should exist which allows to compare the planned and real results, identify gaps and adjust actions (Фрайлингер, Фишер, 2002).
    • As it follows from the review above, on the one hand, the models described seems to be quite similar, however, on the other hand, each of them has its own peculiarities which is revealed in the comparative Table 2 provided below.

Table 2: A comparison of three models of emergent change (By, 2005)

Ten commandments for executing change. Kanter et al. (1992)

Eight-stage process for successful organizational transformation. Kotter (1996)

Seven steps. Luecke (2003)

1. Analyze the organization and its need for change

2. Create a vision and a common direction

3. Separate from the past

4. Create a sense of urgency

5. Support a strong leader role

6. Line up political sponsorship

7. Craft an implementation plan

8. Develop enabling structures

9. Communicate, involve people and be honest

10. Reinforce and institutionalize change

Developing a vision and strategy

1. Establishing a sense of urgency

2. Creating a guiding coalition

5. Empowering broad-based action

3. Communicating the change vision

8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture

6. Generating short-term wins

7. Consolidating gains and producing more change

1. Mobilize energy and commitment through joint identification of problems and solutions

2. Develop a shared vision of how to organize and manage for competitiveness

3. Identify the leadership

6. Institutionalize success through formal policies, systems and structures

4. Focus in results, not on activities

4. Start change at the periphery, then let it spread to other units without pushing from the top

7. Monitor and adjust strategies in response to problems in the change process

Talking about the emergent approach it's necessary to mention that it is relatively new comparing to the planned one that results in the lack of integrity and diversity of methods and techniques. However, according to some experts it could be considered as the universal one in terms of environment uncertainty and turbulence that we face today.

Nevertheless, some authors consider that such approach is more applicable for operational changes rather than strategic ones (Biedenbach, Soderholm, 2008), as well as that change strategy should fit to changing environment (Dunphy and Stace, 1993). According to the opinion of some scholars, being an open system influenced by various factors organization should act in line with situation. Thus, the situational or "contingency" approach should be applied and strategy of change implementation should be defined by dimensions characterizing external environment and enterprise itself.

The contingency theory has been extremely popular in the 1960s and 1970s, however it received revitalization relatively recently. The model proposed by Dunphy and Stace divide scale of changes into four categories: fine-tuning, incremental adjustment, modular transformation and corporate transformation. The first type characterizes an ongoing process of aligning processes, structures, organizational culture and strategy. Such changes usually take place at particular organizational levels or departments and are aimed to improve organizational practices. Incremental adjustment is a change process in management practices and organizational strategies however these changes are not radical. In case of modular transformation changes trigger some important shifts in one ore more departments but do not influence the whole organization what happens in case of corporate transformation (Dunphy, Stace, 1993).

The last type of change approaches existing in the literature has been proposed by Burnes who has developed a choice concept. His model presents a four-field matrix composed by two dimensions: type of environment and speed of change. Thus, the choice approach provide a possibility to use different strategies in diverse situations and organization is able to make choice about what and how to change that makes it more flexible.

The idea of choice approach has also been used by Ronald Garies. To identify the types of changes and strategies that should be applied Garies (2010) has proposed the model characterized by two dimensions: change potential and change demand. The first dimension reveals the level of individual and organizational competencies in terms of managing changes. The level of change demand, in its turn, characterizes the first- and second-order changes of Levy and Merry mentioned above. Four possible combinations of these dimensions form four main change types: radical positioning, transformation, further development and organizational learning. According to the model, the more urgent and radical changes are the less change competencies organization possess and vice versa.

Figure 1: Definition of change types (Gareis, 2010)

Thus, talking about organizational learning it's necessary to mention that its main objective consists in continuous business improvement by changing one or few parameters of the enterprise. Being a continuous change process it assumes that some formal processes and tools supporting changes already exist in organization. According to Gareis, change process consists of two phases: acquiring and stabilizing new knowledge. To complete this process different methods like monitoring, database, workshops etc. could be applied.

The further development is more complicated change type aimed to improvement of business results, including product, process or organizational improvement and requires changes in several organizational dimensions. To handle this change process some standardized tools and techniques could be applied, therefore, in this case the main tasks are concerned with resource allocation, management support and aligning changes with strategy. Thus, the change management process is represented by three phases: conceptionalizing a development, piloting a development and rolling-out a development.

Coming to the transformation type, it's worthy to highlight that this kind of changes is a fundamental one and involves almost all organizational parameters from strategy to relations. Its main objective could consist in rationalization, growth, strategic and cultural new-orientation. Hence, uniqueness and high complexity of the objectives requires thorough development of change process. The change phases that are interrupting the routine, developing a vision and a plan, making decisions, implementing, and stabilizing are almost similar to the stages proposed by Kotter in his model described above.

Finally, in case of radical repositioning urgent changes are usually required due to crisis situation or serious threat that question the survival of organization on the whole. Such situations involve all the organizational dimensions and require urgent solutions and results. According to Garies, in this case the change management stages should include crisis definition, short analysis and ad hoc measures, detailed crisis analysis and planning, implementing the resolution strategies and closing-down the crisis.

Talking about the methods of change implementation, Garies highlights that project and program management approaches are more relevant for the second-order changes, however, one or several projects could be also required in further developing. While, the organizational learning is a repetitive process which should be incorporated in daily business.

As well it's necessary to highlight that second-order changes are especially exposed to resistance from employees and require special attention from change managers.

  • 1.3 Resistance to change and managing resistance
    • Initially, in change management literature resistance had been perceived as behavior not in line with the attempts of the change leader (Bartunek, 1993) and barrier to change (Kotter and Schlesinger, 1979; Klein, 1984). Consequently, the issue of resistance has been discussed from the perspective of the change agent. Afterwards, the focus has moved to perception of changes by employees and motivational factors. According to the last approach people resist not to the changes but to their consequences (Dent, Goldberg, 1999). Thus, Dijk and Dick have defined to types of resistance: person-oriented and principle-oriented. In the first case resistance could be caused by the expectation of losses as a result of departure of status quo. People could be afraid that changes will negatively influence their job or relations inside the organization (Lawrence, 1954). In the second case changes and their consequences are evaluated from organizational point of view, its objectives and success. It means that the expected results of changes are not aligned with views of employees and their expectations how an enterprise should develop.
    • Depending on the strength and intensity active and passive forms of resistance could be distinguished. Active resistance includes finding fault, ridiculing, appealing to fear, and manipulating. Passive resistance includes agreeing verbally but not following through, feigning ignorance and withholding information (Bolognese, 2002).
    • As well, there are different classifications based on situational variables, various dimensions and reasons for changes. According to the model proposed by Mc.Elroy the perception of changes depends on two factors: change experience and expectations about them. Thus, if the experience is small and failure is expected the fear appears, but, in contrary, when expectations are positive people tend to perceive changes with willing and passion. In case when experience is quite big but failure is expected people feel tired, but with positive expectations changes are perceived as something usual and comfortable.
    • In its turn, the reaction to coming changes could also be represented by the model with two dimensions: perception of changes and ability to influence them. The combination of these parameters forms four reaction types: hostility, anxiety, ability to handle with changes and skillfulness in managing changes (McElroy, 1996).
    • Talking about managing resistance it's necessary to mention that the first ideas on this issue has been proposed still in the 1940s by Lewin within the change management model. He suggested that any potential change is resisted by forces in the opposite direction. His solution was to advocate that successful change rests in unfreezing an established equilibrium by enhancing the forces driving change, or by reducing or removing resisting forces, and then refreezing in a new equilibrium state (Morgan, 1997).
    • Subsequently, a range of models taking into account the issue of managing resistance has been developed (Kotter, 1996; Kotter and Schlesinger, 1979 etc.). Talking about the models concerned directly with resistance to changes it's necessary to mention Folger's model which, therefore, also present a list of recommendations rather than practical guide.
    • One of the most complex model about has been proposed quite recently by Armenicans and Harris. The model is based on parameters of change perception which are crucial for all the further stages of change management process. To handle it different influence strategies are also defined. As well the assessment component is also incorporated into the model that allows to evaluate the change management process and make adjustments that is especially important in case of turbulent environment discussed in the beginning of this paper (Armenakis, Harris, 2009).
    • At last, we would like to describe one more quite recent model which is especially interesting from project management point of view. Fiedler's model proposes to perceive resistance to changes as a risk of change project or program. Consequently, managing the resistance could be realized from risk management perspective, which is already a well-studied area, using its processes and tools. Thus, it's proposed that process of managing resistance could consists of the following stages: identification and evaluation of resistance potential, planning of managing resistance, avoidance/promotion and preparation for resistance, resolution of resistance and controlling of resistance measures and potentials. In its turn each stage consists of various phases and utilizes existing risk management structures and methods (Fiedler, 2010).

  • Chapter 2. PMO, roles and functions
    • 2.1 Terminology and typology
    • Although the concept of PMO “has a long history dating back to the 1930s” (Singh et al., 2009, p, 411) it has become really widespread only since the mid 1990s that is mainly associated with the increasing number and complexity of the projects held by organizations (Marsh, 2000). Anyway, although the PMO phenomenon is considered as a relatively recent phenomenon it's importance is widely recognized in the project management society. During the last ten years a lot of organizations have implemented one or more PMOs as the part of project management concept. (Dai and Wells, 2004). However, according to Aubry et al., (2010) the notion of PMO has been addressed mainly in the professional literature (Benko and McFarlan, 2003; Crawford, 2002; Dinsmore, 1999; Kendall and Rollins, 2003), while its treatment in scientific literature is still quite limited.
    • Talking about the terminology it's necessary to highlight that in English-speaking environment it's possible to meet different terms related to the idea of PMO that sometimes could be misleading. In the fundamental work of Kendall and Rollins (2003) authors mention three of them: project office, project management office and program management office.
    • Originally the term “project office” has been used to describe an organizational department that monitor project performance and report on it. Such type of PMO does not provide any support to project managers and is usually seen just as the source of threat. However, it's necessary to keep in mind that the term “project office” and “Project management office” sometimes could be used as synonymous while they have important differences.
    • To describe the body that not only control the project performance but also establish project management standards, coordinate projects and resources and provide real support to managers it is better to use the term “project management office”. As well, to highlight its scale of importance and responsibility the term “enterprise project management (office)” could be also applied.
    • And finally, in case if the organization uses not only projects but also programs, which are the set of projects linked by the common purpose, program management office could be adopted. Subsequently, it is supposed that such offices usually deal with bigger budgets and provide maximum support to the managers.
    • As well in other sources the term Center of Excellence could be used (OGC, 2008).
    • To cover all the realities found empirically, while talking about PMO in the following work we would like to adopt a broader definition provided by Project Management Institution. According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge a PMO is “An organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities of the PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project” (Project Management Institute, 2008, p. 369).
    • As it follows from the definition it's necessary to understand that there is no unique “recipe” of PMO. Depending on the organizational needs and environments a PMO could be established to support a single project or a range of related or independent projects (Ward, Daniel, 2013). As well the roles, forms and functions of PMO could significantly differ from one company to another regarding their peculiarities and needs. However, as Unger et al. argue this definition also reflects “the lack of knowledge about the impact of PMOs and the lack of consensus on how to construct them” (Unger et al, p.610). Thus, after clarifying the terminology aspects it's necessary to pay attention to the existing typologies of PMOs although some issues have already been mentioned in the discussion above.
    • J.K. Crawford (2010) provides a typology of project management offices based on the number of projects held. According to this principle the author distinguish three types of offices: Project control office, Business unit project office and Strategic project office.
    • The first concept is used to describe the separate temporary PMO created for each project, however it differs from the concept of “Project office” described earlier. The purpose of such office consists not only in improving control over the project but to increase the efficiency and quality of the project in general and deal with budget and time constraints. Such offices are usually implemented for projects for external customers in project-oriented organizations.
    • The second type of office is usually established at the level of single business unit or department and is mainly involved into resource allocation. By optimizing resources these offices eliminate or at least decrease the competition for resources within the division and prevent conflicts between functional and project managers.
    • The last office type is identical to the enterprise project management office mentioned above. Responsible for strategy implementation through projects it has a high importance and influence in organization and executes a wide rage of functions.
    • Another group of classifications is based on the roles and functions performed by the project management offices. Thus, Kendall and Rollins (2003) distinguish four main models of PMOs: a repository model, a coach, an Enterprise PMO and “Deliver Now” office.
    • In case when the repository model is applied the PMO serves as a storage and source of information about projects, methods and project management standards. It is usually used in decentralized organizations where authority and responsibility for the projects are divided between divisions. It's necessary to mention that this model includes a very little or even no economic component, as, in fact, the office does not bear any responsibility for performance of the company so its performance is not measured as well.
    • Being a development of repository model a coach model includes not only storage and information source functions but also coordinates the implementation of project management methodology in company. As well it monitors and evaluates the project performance that is used to improve the project management efficiency and train project managers; participates in project planning and analyzes the results. According to the authors the coach model could bring significant support to management, however, it always plays the second role in the company.
    • Talking about an Enterprise PMO, first of all, it's necessary to highlight that it requires quite a huge investments and has well defined goals, responsibilities and strong support from top management. This type of PMO significantly differs from the other models as it plays crucial role in project management activities during the whole project's life cycle. Quite often almost all the PM professionals belong to this department that increases the economic significance of it.
    • Finally, the “Deliver now” office is concerned with getting the immediate results which have to be shown every half-year. This kind of models has the support on the highest level and a wide range of responsibilities targeted to get real economic benefits in project activities. More precisely its functions will be described in the following part of the chapter.
    • Another typology based on the functions has been provided by Kevin Desouza and Roberto Evaristo in 2006 dividing the PMO types into two main groups: administrative offices and knowledge-intensive offices.
    • As it follows from the name administrative offices are mainly focused on providing administrative support to project managers, including managing information, communication, resources etc. While knowledge-intensive offices are mainly concerned with the increasing of organizational maturity in the field of project management, knowledge accumulation and implementation of best practices that in general improve the project management efficiency. Within these two broad areas the researchers also identify four more types of offices such as supporter, information manager, knowledge manager and coach.

Figure 2: PMO types (Desouza&Evaristo, 2006)

Supporters' functions usually include the basic administrative issues such as defining risks, monitoring the project performance, archiving and providing information. Although these offices are responsible for the project implementation, in fact, they play passive role and cannot influence the project management process that put to question their usefulness for the organization.

Moving to the Information manager it's necessary to mention that although it is situated in between the administrative and knowledge roles and partly carry out both functions still it is concerned with collecting information and analyzing the project progress and lacks the managerial authority.

Knowledge manager is situated more closely to the knowledge-oriented edge and, subsequently, does not carry out administrative functions. Mainly, it serves as the best practices storage and on their basis may reorganize project portfolio or be responsible for the successful implementation of individual projects. The main difference between information manager and knowledge manager consists in the type of information collected. While the first is concerned with information on project performance the latter mainly accumulates and analyzes information on the project management methods and techniques.

Coach type is similar to the coach model mentioned above described by Kendall and Rollins. Serving as the knowledge depository this office is also responsible for implementation of best PM practices. Talking about this kind of offices it's necessary to highlight that from change management perspective it usually acts as a change agent moving organization to new levels of project management maturity and overcoming resistance.

Finally, we would like to describe one more, quite recent, typology of PMOs based on several variables proposed by Hobbs and Aubry in their study of 500 project management offices around the world. According to the outcomes of the study the researchers have proposed to classify PMO types on the basis of organizational context variables, such as sector, size, type of organizational structure and level of PM maturity, and characteristics of PMO, including its size, number of projects managed, position in organizational structure and authority level. Hence, three main PMO types have been defined:

1) PMOs with a considerable number of projects, project managers and significant authority in decision-making process

2) PMOs with an average number of projects, not many project managers and less power in making decisions

3) PMOs with a small amount of project managers responsible for projects in organization with a low level of authority in decision-making process.

Drawing the parallels it is possible to mention that the first type of PMO mentioned is similar to strategic or enterprise project management office, while the last one could be compared with the administrative-oriented office. Talking about the classification provided it could be said that some issues could be controversial, however, according to the authors the classification given is not final and requires further research efforts.

To summarize it is possible to conclude that a large variety of criteria can be used for PMO classification. According to Hobbs and Aubry (2007) PMOs' characteristics could vary significantly that trigger existence of a wide range of PMOs' types: “The organizational reality surrounding PMOs is complex and varied ... organizations establish a great variety of PMOs to deal with their reality” (Hobbs, Aubry, 2007, p. 85).

Due to the complexity of phenomenon a lot of classifications already exist, however, some types of them seem to be quite similar. In the table below the comparison of some existing classifications is provided.

Table 3: Typology of PMOs by diffrent authors (Hobbs&Aubry, 2007)


Single-project Entity

Multi-project Entity

Dinsmore P. C., 1999

Autonomous Project Team

Project Support Office

Project Management Center of Excellence

Program management office

Gartner Research Group, 1999

Project Repository



Crawford, 2010

Project Control Office

Business Unit Project Office

Strategic Project Office

Englund, Graham, & Dinsmore, 2003

Project Support Office

Project Management Center of Excellence

Program management office

Kendall & Rollins, 2003

Project Repository


Enterprise PMO

Deliver Now

Hill, G.M., 2004

Project Office

Basic PMO

Standard PMO

Advanced PMO

Center of Excellence

Garfein, 2005

Project Office

Basic PMO

Mature PMO

Enterprise PMO

  • 2.2 PMO functions and tasks

As it follows from the literature analysis a wide range of possible responsibilities and tasks could be assigned to PMO in organization. According to Crawford (2004) nearly 75 functions of PMO could be identified. However, it is quite obvious that a single PMO can hardly perform all of them. Moreover, it is senseless in case if they do not fulfill the needs of organization and bring value to it. Thus, in practice PMOs tend to focus just on one or several functions. Kendall and Rollins (2003) have identified a set of factors that could influence on this choice: structure of accountability, development direction and the underlying model.

Talking about the first factor it's necessary to highlight that the functions of PMOs are usually strongly defined by the level or department where it is situated. However, as the authors argue although in practice PMOs could be organized by different functional departments it leads to failures of project management offices or at least to the limited results. To bring the real benefits to the organization PMO should be better situated at the top organizational level and supported be the top management of the company.

Another factor is the direction of development which could cost reduction or performance improvement. Cost reduction is mainly concerned with managing resources and budget optimization. According to these underlying targets PMO could perform a range of functions related with control, collecting and analyzing information etc.

However, the shortcoming of such approach is that PMO could prevent the establishment of mutual trust and could be considered as a negative phenomenon. Another problem is related with the fact that usually reduction of the costs is possible only at the expense of time constraints or scope of the project. In contrary, the main objectives of performance improvement usually include reduction of project duration and improvement of the project quality. Due to this it becomes possible to increase the number of project that meets strategic organizational goals. However, this approach has limitations as well, especially in terms of costs, but, according to the authors, it is not necessary that performance approach completely contradict to cost approach. As practice shows performance improvement could lead to a significant cost reduction.

Finally, the PMO functions could be determined by the role or model prescribed to PMO. The four models identified by Kendall and Rollins have already been described in the previous part of the study.

Having mentioned the factors underlying the choice of the PMO responsibilities it is necessary to move to a more precise description of the existing functions performed by project management offices.

According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMI, 2008), the general PMO functions include:

· Project Resource Management

· Identification of best practices, development of standards and project management methodology

· Coaching, mentoring and training

· Project audit and control of compliance with PM standards, procedures and templates

· Development and management of organizational process resources

· Coordination between projects

A great variety of the functions derives from the PMO models, described in the previous part, as well as from the other literature sources studied (Kendall & Rollins, 2003; PMI, 2008). To make it more convenient the functions are usually grouped in categories.

Although the functions could be grouped differently we would like to describe one of the most recent classifications provided by Artto et al. (2011) as, from our point of view, it involves all the basic functions revealed and includes the results of the most recent studies. According to the authors all the functions revealed could be divided into five distinctive categories: managing practices, training and consulting, administrative support, monitoring and control and evaluating, analyzing and choosing projects.

Managing practices is concerned with the development of standards, procedures, methods, tools and information systems that help to improve project management practices and encourage continuous development of project management in organization. In fact, this group mainly refers to the knowledge management activities of PMO.

Another group closely connected with the knowledge role of PMO is training and consulting. These functions are concerned with the development of project organizational culture and improvement of employees' knowledge in the area of project management through consulting, mentoring and trainings.

While talking about providing administrative support it is supposed that PMO undertakes some responsibilities of project managers in order to get economy of scale or to help project managers to decrease the workload. This function may include support in project planning, facilitation of kick-off meetings, providing facilities and equipment, reporting project status to upper management etc.

Monitoring and control group is often considered by many authors as one of the most important functions of PMO. It usually includes such tasks as collecting reports, monitoring project performance, analyzing project progress and results, resource allocation, risk management, development of reward system and managing benefits.

And, finally, Evaluating, analyzing and choosing projects group refers mainly to portfolio management practices and functions and includes strategic planning, identification, evaluation and selection of projects, managing programs and portfolios, coordination between projects etc. More precisely, all the functions belonging to the groups as well as the sources of are described in the Table 4.

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