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Executive's Guide to Project Management: Organizational Processes and Practices for Supporting Complex Projects by Robert K. Wysocki

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Definition of a Project Support Office

Definition: Project Support Office

A PSO is a temporary or permanent organizational unit that provides a portfolio of services to support project teams that are responsible for a defined group of projects.

There are three types of PSOs:

  • Directive. In this type the project managers are organizationally attached to the PSO and are assigned to projects from the PSO. This structure is generally reserved for enterprise-wide projects.
  • Controlling. In this type of PSO the tools, templates, and processes are supplied by the PSO and all project managers, regardless of their home department, are required to use them. A heavy-handed compliance function is administered by the PSO.
  • Supportive. This type of PSO (frequently named PSO and the name I will use here) provides on an as-requested basis any type of help and expertise the project manager or team members might need.

One thing that is common to all three of the above PSOs is the responsibility for standards development, maintenance, and compliance. So with the name PSO, the name we will go forward with, most implementations of the PSO are generally some hybrid of the above. The senior management team (SMT) is responsible for deciding on the type of PSO most appropriate for their organization and then implementing it. I strongly recommend a hybrid variation with supportive, control, and directive components. So with that as the foundation we can get more specific.

Temporary or Permanent

Among the ...

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