The Focus, Roles & Responsibilities


of a Program Management Office



By Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC

Jupiter, Florida, USA

Increasingly large CAPEX owners are carrying out multiple “giga” programs (1) simultaneously. While each of these “giga” programs is likely using a program management approach to manage the multiple projects that comprise an individual “giga” program, there is a higher level of programmatic management required at the owner’s enterprise level.

This higher-level coordination and oversight is increasingly being provided by a Program Management Office or PMO, whose responsibilities are evolving as individual programs undertaken by the organization grow in scale and complexity.

This paper attempts to succinctly capture my observations of best practices of PMOs of large CAPEX owners as well define future roles and responsibilities of these PMOs based on emerging trends and program trajectories.

Focus of the PMO

Much has been written on the role of program managers as well as on the role of an enterprise level Program Management Office or PMO. In simple terms I see the PMO focus as:

  • Enterprise wide
  • Strategic focus related to the delivery of programs and projects
  • Support and improve the management of projects through clear standards, processes and training

Roles and Responsibilities of the PMO

With this focus in mind, PMO roles and responsibilities are trending towards a series of well-defined and interlocked roles and responsibilities. Key is to recognize that these roles and responsibilities are at an enterprise level with respect to program and project delivery and not directly responsible for program and project delivery.

PMO roles and responsibilities include:

1.  Establishment and ownership of the program and project implementation requirements

    • Support and link to investment decision process
    • Assure strategic business objectives linked clearly to program and project implementation
    • Overall project development and implementation flow chart
    • Project approval
    • Project planning
    • Project initiation
    • Project management, review and oversight
    • Project close-out
    • Define “tollgate” process and lead reviews linked to investment decision process
    • individual phases before each tollgate
    • deliverables
    • outcomes required
    • individuals and organizations involved
    • anticipated duration of each phase


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally published in PM World Today in April 2010.  It is republished here with the author’s permission.

How to cite this paper: Prieto, R. (2010). The Focus, Roles & Responsibilities of a Program Management Office, Second Edition, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IX, September 2021.  Originally published in PM World Today, April 2010. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pmwj109-Sep2021-Prieto-focus-roles-responsibilities-of-program-management-office-2nd-ed2.pdf

About the Author

Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management, LLC
Jupiter, Florida, USA


Bob Prieto is a senior executive effective in shaping and executing business strategy and a recognized leader within the infrastructure, engineering and construction industries. Currently Bob heads his own management consulting practice, Strategic Program Management LLC. He previously served as a senior vice president of Fluor, one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. He focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide and consults with owners across all market sectors in the development of programmatic delivery strategies. He is author of nine books including “Strategic Program Management”, “The Giga Factor: Program Management in the Engineering and Construction Industry”, “Application of Life Cycle Analysis in the Capital Assets Industry”, “Capital Efficiency: Pull All the Levers” and, most recently, “Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects” published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) as well as over 800 other papers and presentations.

Bob is an Independent Member of the Shareholder Committee of Mott MacDonald and a member of the board of Dar al Riyadh. He is a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction, a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America and member of several university departmental and campus advisory boards. Bob served until 2006 as a U.S. presidential appointee to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), working with U.S. and Asia-Pacific business leaders to shape the framework for trade and economic growth. He is a member of the Millenium Challenge Corporation advisory board where he had previously served. He had previously served as both as Chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he served as Chairman at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and a non-executive director of Cardno (ASX)

Bob serves as an honorary global advisor for the PM World Journal and Library and can be contacted at rpstrategic@comcast.net.

To view other works by Bob Prieto, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/bob-prieto/