FAQ – PMO Size

People have asked me, time and time again:

“Martyn, How big should my PMO be?”

I ask the question:

“Why are you setting up/improving your PMO?”

The answer to that will lead you to the services your PMO should offer your organisation and then on to your stakeholders and Customers and then how many people do you require to service all of those customers, delivering all the desired services…

The following are a few examples of how you could go about sizing your PMO:

  1. Programme Value

In my opinion if you are looking for a line in the sand you could base your PMO sizing on the total Programme value. I would say you can expect to pay 5% (of total Programme cost) on average, but this will vary depending on services you are providing, number of customers and stakeholders, length of programme to name a few impacts. This is not my preferred method as it leaves out so many influencing factors…

  1. Programme Size

If you wish to base your initial PMO size on number of Programme headcount, then the numbers below offer a place to start:

  • Programme of 30 (PMO of 3)
  • Programme of 60 (PMO of 6)
  • Programme of 120 (PMO of 7)
  • Programme of 200 (PMO of 9)
  • Programme of 500 (PMO of 17)
  • Programme of 1000 (PMO of 25)

These figures are given as a guide and not to be taken as a definitive figure. These numbers are examples that take into account:

  • Management Reporting Overhead
  • Basic IT Tools
  • P3M3 Maturity level of 2 – 3
  • The PMO staff are also fairly mature and are self-sufficient (do not require a great deal of mentoring)

You will of course (if you use this method of sizing) need to take into account for PMO’s with higher or lower Maturity, Additional roles, locations/geographies, type of programme (the amount of legislative overhead or governance?), or the services you are and are not offering the programme and the business.

  1. By Function and Service

The third “Sizing Option” I am going to give you is my preferred choice. It is based on the services you are offing or will offer and functions you are performing (or will perform) and in which you estimate the level of effort over a given period, such as a month, along with the competencies and skills you will need in your PMO to deliver these. You could assume to start off that there are 150 hours per month per person available, based on standard working days you could then start to list the services and functions and then the roles and define how much time each one is expected to take in a given month. This will also help you to combine your roles (as not all roles need a full time person, one person may hold several roles).

Example template for use: