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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 6 – Do you need a Results Management Office?

Project management, program management, portfolio management
There is no difference between a Directive PMO and a Results Management Office

“A leader must have the courage to act against an expert's advice.” - James Callaghan

“Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” - Malcolm Muggeridge

We are discussing the Results Management Office (RMO) and comparing that to the functions of a directive Portfolio Management Office (PfMO). This is part of a broader discussion in my series on how to stand up a PfMO. Because the topic of a RMO has come up in several questions, I thought it deserved a short discussion discussion.

The RMO construct is from an article published by PMI back in 2013, and you can find the entire article here: https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/the-results-management-office-roles-objectives-5886

It is my belief that there is no need for a RMO if an organization implements a directive PfMO where that office is actually responsible for the delivery of the portfolio. All of the reasons for a RMO office are driven by the fact that the most common PfMO (or PMO for that matter) is the controlling version. In a controlling version, the PfMO may offer guidance, set reporting protocols, determine work stream paths and grade the individual project, program and portfolio’s progress.

But they are not responsible for the delivery of the portfolio!

Here is a picture that outlines the reasons that the PMI author believes there is a need for a completely new and separate governance office – the RMO. As a side note, there are a variety of different and interesting pictures that illustrate the same issues embedded within the article.

My assessment of the “Current State PMO” as described above is actually less flattering than in the chart. I would argue that most PMO’s (or PfMO’s for the purpose of this article) are not really focused on efficiency, cost, schedule or performance – they are almost completely focused on process and administration.

I do agree completely with the assessment that project and portfolio governance require a focus on all the items on the right side of the chart. However, all those items are also core functions of a directive PfMO! Why would you put in place a completely new governance structure specifically to account for the shortcomings of a traditional controlling PfMO? Just implement a directive model!

Organizations must face the realization that the traditional controlling PMO or PfMO is the root cause of many of the challenges we face in project management. The decision to stand up directive office does have significant organizational and political implications; however, it also fixes the responsibility for the success of the work with the same office responsible for directing and controlling the work.

Next we will discuss the role of the PfMO in resource allocation.


As those of you who follow my other blog know, I am in the process of bringing a new product to market. There is a significant amount of work in doing that, and I recently hit a couple of milestones. We are now BBB accredited. That process wasn’t difficult, but it did require focused effort over time and caused me to make some infrastructure changes. You can now see that accreditation on the web site! We also now have a DUNS number, which is a requirement for large retail merchants like Wal-Mart and West Marine. It has been a long process, but we are getting very close to having an actual product for sale. You can follow that project at www.seaclutch.com. Thanks!


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