Over the last fifteen plus years, I have been heavily involved in PMOs in my capacity of building and running them, authoring books, giving presentations, or speaking on the topic. The first thing I do before I start building or running a PMO is to perform a “PMO Inventory.” Remember, this is an inventory, not an Assessment. Assessments tend to be around scoring different components of the PMO, and right now, that is not what I think you should be doing. Your focus should be more on what does the PMO have and not have compared to assigning a score. So, read on, but don’t worry if you see the word “Assess” throughout this process, you’ll get what I mean as I see “Assess” and “Inventory” as interchangeable in this context.

Does that make sense?

With that in mind, let’s dive into the steps to inventory the current PMO environment.

Step 1. Assess PMO Environment – Review the PMO Repository, Mission Statement and Organization Goals, PMO Roadmap and any other materials available. If you are stepping into an existing PMO, this material should be available, if not, you may have some additional work to find it.

Step 2. Assess PMO Structure & Existing Employees/Contractors – Spend the time and evaluate the resources that are available in the PMO. Understand the org chart, review qualifications, understand commitments and review the types of PMO roles (Portfolio, Program and Project Managers) the organization has in place. At the end of this step, you should be comfortable with knowing the resources working in the PMO.

Step 3. Assess Current PMO Portfolio of Work – Once resource assignments are known, you need to review the programs and projects in more detail. What are the top risks and issues? What does the end-to-end schedule look like? Are regular communications going to the stakeholders? Spend the time in this step to deep dive into the programs and projects occurring in the PMO today.

Step 4. Assess PMO Budget and Financial Process – In this step, you will look into the finances of the PMO. Look for programs and projects running over budget or under budget. What are top tool costs, are there any open POs, how does the procurement process work?

Step 5. Assess PMO Problem & Positive Areas – In this step, you will interview resources/staff/employees and hear firsthand what is working and not working. This is where it is important to put your personal bias aside and listen to what is being said by the people working in the organization. Be fair in this process, listen and capture both the good and the bad of how the PMO is running. Be sure to capture what your customers are saying as well, and make sure you understand their thoughts on the PMO and what is working or not working for them.

Step 6. Assess PMO Maturity Model – In this step, your focus will be on how well the PMO is maturing or what process and procedures are put in place to grow the PMO. If there are no maturity models in place, then look for other methods on how the current leadership was expecting to mature the organization and document your findings.

Step 7. Assess PMO Methodologies – In this process, you will review the current list of methodologies (Portfolio, Program, Project) as well as any development methodologies (IT) occurring in the organization. For IT companies specifically, when looking at the development methodologies, look for Waterfall, Agile, Scaled Agile, etc.

Step 8. Assess PMO Toolset –In this step, you will spend time assessing and reviewing what tools are currently in the PMO, outside the PMO, and overall tool usage. The entire tool process is a tricky one, especially for PMOs that have been around for a while and have a big toolset already.

Step 9. Assess PMO Reports – In this process, you will focus on dashboard and reporting established by the PMO. You will be asking what reports are working, not working, costs of running dashboards if any, and how big is the report team. Essentially, you need to know exactly how reporting is running within the PMO.

Step 10. Assess PMO Training and Education Components – In this phase, you assess all training occurring in the PMO. Training could be based on roles, methodologies, or career growth, but the goal is to understand all the training available and document those findings.

That’s it, just ten easy steps to inventory the current PMO. After spending the time going through each of these areas, you should be in a good position to write up your PMO Recommendation report.

What’s a PMO Recommendation Report?
A PMO Recommendation report is a combination of what you saw performing the ten steps of inventorying the PMO and then summarizing that information into your findings and recommendations.

Step 11. Write PMO Recommendation Report – This is where you document next steps and where you want and feel you should take the PMO.

FREE PMO Assessment Guide provided by Bill Dow – CLICK HERE


Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.

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Bill Dow

Bill Dow

Contributing Author

Bill Dow, PMP is a recognized expert in Project Management by the Project Management Institute (PMI) for specifically developing and managing Project Management Offices (PMOs.)  His extensive experience with Project Management and PMOs have enabled him to co-author several comprehensive books available through Amazon.com.

Bill has taught at the college level for more than 15 years in Washington State, British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, and has worked at Microsoft for more than 10 years.  He has spoken at multiple Project Management Institute (PMI) conferences, breakfasts and events nationally.  


"PMO Lifecycle: Building, Running, and Shutting Down,"  June 2017  (Amazon Link)

“Project Management Communications Tools,” May 2015 http://tinyurl.com/z5yt8mz  Co-authored with Bruce Taylor

“The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO,” August 2012,  http://tinyurl.com/z8y8bym

“Project Management Communications Bible,” June 2008 http://tinyurl.com/j2sn5bd  Co-authored with Bruce Taylor

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