PMO Archetypes – Reflective of the PMO Leader?

Filed under PPM/PMO | Posted by PMStudent

Social media/networking is awesome. ?Here’s an example.

  1. Last week I received a question?looking for PMO resource material, specifically PMO best practices.
  2. So I published a post called PMO Best Practices with some that I knew of and asked for more from the readers, which I got.
  3. Then today I see Ron Rosenhead on Twitter referring to a post on the Four Archetypes of a PMO by Glen Alleman. ?I re-tweet it because that’s what you do with stuff you like on Twitter, share it with others.
  4. I check it out and like it, and see he references this post by Mark Mullaly. ?It is one post among the multitude that I had suggested looking at in my original post at
  5. And now this process has spawned a new post by yours truly due to the questions it stimulated in my mind.


Now here is my question for anyone reading this who has an opinion on the matter.

What Impact Do the “People In Charge” Have On the Archetype?

Looking at the four, I can identify with one of them in particular, but with some elements of another – perhaps even all four. ?This leads me to ask what kind of PMO I would establish had I the choice.

by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr

Mark’s article speaks to the need for the archetype to be in alignment with the organization. ?While this seems like a reasonable goal to me, I am questioning it’s validity and perhaps you can help me think this through.

To some extent, the industry and organizational culture play a role. ?Certainly. ?If you are running projects in relation with the nuclear power industry you have a completely different set of processes that emphasize control and adherence to standards among other types of rigor. ?A company producing software may be completely different.

To me, the main driver for these archetypes is going to be those PEOPLE who have influence over the PMO. ?If this person (or small group of people) tend to be the quarterback, perfectionist, scorekeeper, or facilitator they will focus on the aspects and process that are important from the perspective of their world view.

For instance, when I look at those four archetypes the one I identify with is “facilitator” with a leaning towards “quarterback”. ?That’s how I manage projects and (of course) how I would like a PMO to run. ?As long as there are no external constraints (as in the nuclear example given above) I venture to hypothesize that the personality and approach of the PMO director (and higher management that enable it) will determine the archetype more than anything else. ?We’re talking about a matter of management style.

So, if I were an executive looking to hire someone to lead a PMO for my organization, an analysis of the best archetype for the organization is very useful. ?I argue however it’s not a matter of picking the best candidate in general to lead a prescribed PMO; I want someone who is qualified, experienced AND also has a management style and organizational process mindset that is in harmony with the PMO archetype that will best serve my company.

Thoughts? ?Comment, tweet, facebook, or whatever you like.