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Traditional PMOs vs. PMOaaS: A Comparative Analysis

How to Overcome Common Challenges When Adopting PMOaaS

In recent years, the Project Management Office (PMO) has played an essential role in ensuring project success, providing structure, oversight, and strategic alignment. 

89% of organisations currently have at least one PMO and 50% have two or more. 

However, the landscape is evolving, with the emergence of Project Management Office as a Service (PMOaaS) challenging the dominance of the traditional PMO model. 

In this comparative analysis, we explore the differences between PMOaaS and traditional PMOs, shedding light on their respective strengths and weaknesses. 

The goal of this article is to guide you in making informed decisions about the future of your organisation's project management strategy.

Understanding Traditional PMOs


Traditional Project Management Offices have long been fixtures in organisations, providing vital support for project management activities. 

They serve as centralised entities responsible for standardising processes. Here’s how PMOs work to ensure project governance and enhance project outcomes: 

Definition of a PMO

Traditional PMOs act as centralised units within organisations, overseeing project management best practices, providing support, and maintaining standards to improve project outcomes. Learn more about the definition of PMOs and associated projects, programs and portfolios in our PMO Glossary

Purpose of a PMO

PMOs typically handle functions such as project planning, resource management, risk mitigation, and stakeholder communication. They establish mature project governance frameworks, define methodologies, and provide project management training and support.

Common Challenges

Traditional PMOs can face challenges such as resistance to change, lack of alignment with organisational objectives, difficulty in demonstrating value, and resource constraints. Additionally, maintaining relevance in dynamic business environments and adapting to evolving project management methodologies can pose significant hurdles.

Exploring Project Management Office as a Service


Project Management Office as a Service offers a fresh approach to project management support, with external providers supporting organisations with access to specialist project management expertise, tools, and resources on an as-needed basis. 

Definition of a PMOaaS

PMOaaS providers and service centres take on responsibility for the creation and/or management of PMOs, providing dedicated expertise and specialist resources. PMOaaS operates on an on-demand basis, allowing organisations to scale their project management capabilities according to current needs without the overhead of maintaining an in-house PMO team. 

PMOaaS Functions and Responsibilities

This service typically includes functions such as project planning, risk management, stakeholder communication, and performance monitoring, delivered by experienced project management professionals. 

Benefits of Adopting PMOaaS

Compared to traditional PMOs, PMOaaS offers greater flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and access to specialised expertise, making it an attractive option for organisations seeking efficient project management solutions.

PMO vs PMOaaS: A Comparative Analysis


Working Style

Traditional PMOs have in-house teams managing project activities, while PMOaaS offers external support, working either onsite or remotely. Traditional PMOs provide direct communication and tailored support, deeply embedded in the organisation. PMOaaS operates externally, often relying on virtual channels. Choosing between them depends on organisational culture, project complexity, and resource availability.


Traditional PMOs often entail significant upfront and ongoing costs, including salaries, infrastructure, and training expenses, making them less cost-effective for organisations, especially smaller ones. In contrast, PMOaaS operates on a subscription or on-demand basis, allowing organisations to pay for services as needed, resulting in potentially lower overall costs.

Flexibility and Scalability

Traditional PMOs typically have fixed structures and resources, limiting their ability to scale or adapt to changing project needs. PMOaaS offers greater flexibility and scalability, allowing organisations to adjust the level of support and resources based on project requirements, enabling more agile responses to changing circumstances.

Resources and Expertise

Traditional PMOs may face limitations in accessing specialised resources and expertise, particularly in niche or emerging areas. PMOaaS providers often have a diverse pool of skilled professionals and access to cutting-edge tools and methodologies, offering organisations access to a broader range of expertise and resources.

Alignment with Organisational Goals

Traditional PMOs may struggle to align closely with organisational goals due to rigid structures and processes that may not evolve with shifting priorities. PMOaaS can be more closely aligned with organisational objectives, as services and support can be tailored to specific project needs, ensuring greater alignment with strategic goals and objectives.

Case Studies: Exploring the Journey of Implementing PMO and PMOaaS


Let’s explore the two hypothetical case studies to see how PMO and PMOaaS play out in real-world scenarios. 

Case Study 1: Traditional PMO Implementation in a Financial Services Firm

A financial services firm seeks to establish a traditional PMO to centralise project management activities and improve project governance across the organisation.

Implementation of Traditional PMO

The firm appoints an internal team to establish the traditional PMO structure, including defining roles, developing processes, and implementing project management tools. They also provide training to existing staff to ensure alignment with PMO procedures.

PMO Outcomes

  • Increased Governance: The traditional PMO facilitates better project governance through standardised processes and documentation, ensuring compliance with industry regulations.

  • Resource Constraints: The firm encounters challenges in resource allocation and capacity planning, as the traditional PMO relies solely on internal resources, leading to bottlenecks during peak project periods.

  • Limited Flexibility: The rigid structure of the traditional PMO hindered its ability to adapt to changing project requirements and organisational priorities, resulting in delays and inefficiencies.

Case Study 2: PMOaaS Implementation in a Manufacturing Company

Consider a global manufacturing company, facing challenges in project delivery and resource management. They decide to explore PMOaaS as a solution to streamline their project management processes.

Implementation of PMOaaS

The company partners with a PMOaaS provider specialising in the manufacturing sector. The PMOaaS team conducts an initial assessment of the company's project management needs and goals. They then design a tailored PMOaaS solution, including project planning, risk management, stakeholder engagement, and governance support.

PMOaaS Outcomes

  • Improved Project Delivery: With PMOaaS support, the company benefits from enhanced project delivery timelines and quality, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and higher project success rates.

  • Scalability and Flexibility: PMOaaS allows the company to scale resources up or down based on project demands, ensuring optimal resource allocation and cost-effectiveness.

  • Access to Specialised Expertise: The PMOaaS provider offers access to a diverse team of project management experts with experience in the manufacturing industry, addressing specific challenges and providing valuable insights.

Case Study Conclusion

These case studies illustrate the benefits and challenges of implementing traditional PMOs versus PMOaaS in different organisational contexts.

While traditional PMOs may provide more stringent governance and alignment with organisational goals, PMOaaS offers greater flexibility, access to expertise, and scalability, 

There is no “one size fits all” approach to project management, and organisations must carefully evaluate their needs and strategic objectives to determine the most suitable approach. 

However, PMOaaS can be seen to offer significant benefits and enhanced project outcomes in an increasingly dynamic and specialised business landscape. 

Elevate Your Project Management with MetaPM: Transitioning to PMOaaS for Enhanced Success

In conclusion, we believe that PMOaaS offers distinct advantages over traditional PMOs, providing flexibility, scalability, and access to specialised expertise while remaining cost-effective. 

If you’re looking to explore the opportunities of shifting to the PMOaaS model, talk to MetaPM

We specialise in facilitating a smooth transition to PMOaaS, offering tailored consulting and resourcing to meet your organisation’s needs and drive project success.

With years of expertise in project management, MetaPM ensures seamless implementation and ongoing support, empowering you to achieve project objectives. 

To elevate your project management capabilities through PMOaaS, contact MetaPM today.

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