A project management office (abbreviated to PMO) is a group or department within a business, government agency, or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance, and metrics on the practice of project management and execution.

Darling & Whitty (2016) note that the definition of the PMO's function has evolved over time:

  • The 1800s project office was a type of national governance of the agricultural industry.
  • In 1939 the term "project management office" was used in a publication for the first time.
  • The 1950s concept of the PMO is representative of what a contemporary PMO looks like.
  • Today, the PMO is a dynamic entity used to solve specific issues.[1]

Often, PMOs base project management principles on industry-standard methodologies such as PRINCE2 or guidelines such as PMBOK.[2]