A Relational Typology of Project Management Offices

Ralf Müller / Monique Aubry / Johannes Glückler

This explorative paper develops a relational typology of PMOs based on their roles with stakeholders. A three dimensional role space allows locating the complex relational profiles that PMOs take on in respect to their stakeholders in practice. The value added by the triangular role model is twofold. First, it reduces the high complexity of PMO relations into a comprehensive and quite simple typological framework and thus may qualify as a tool for managers in organizational development. Second, based on the literature on organizational learning and innovation and grounded in four organizational case studies discussed in this research, the paper suggests that for project management to enable learning capabilities and to attain sustainable innovativeness, PMOs should engage and intensify the partnering dimension in their overall role profiles. While service-orientation (subordinate role profile) and management-orientation (super-ordinate role profile) support organizational effectiveness and exploitation, partnering creates the slack necessary for potential exploration.