What Is an Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO)?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 5, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies that frequently work on projects may decide to create an enterprise project management office (EPMO) to oversee these projects efficiently. These offices can help teams collaborate better, allowing them to work toward and complete all their shared goals on time. Learning more about these offices can help you decide whether creating one can benefit you and your team. In this article, we explain what an enterprise project management office is, discuss how it functions, tell you how to establish one, list the benefits, talk about the basic structure, and compare it to a project management office (PMO).

What is an EPMO?

An enterprise project management office, or EPMO, is a centralized office responsible for many project management functions. Enterprise project management offices are types of project management offices, or PMOs, usually at the corporate level of companies.

Typically, companies use enterprise project management offices to help manage large-scale projects because they can help simplify the process of managing large and complex projects. One of the key responsibilities of an enterprise project management office is to align company projects with the company's overall goals. Another important feature of an enterprise project management office is that it typically collaborates directly with company executive teams.

Related: What is a Project Management Plan? With Tips and Examples

Key functions

Here are some of the key functions of an enterprise project management office:

Aligning projects with company goals

A key function of an enterprise project management office is to align project management strategies with the overall goals of the company. This can help companies achieve their objectives while they complete projects. As an enterprise project management office develops a project strategy, it works to ensure that the project continues to benefit the whole company.

Monitoring progress of projects

Enterprise project management offices are also responsible for monitoring the progress of projects, which can help teams stay on track and ensure that projects stay in alignment with company goals. These offices typically monitor project progress regularly. Progress monitoring can take the form of analyzing metrics, reviewing progress toward goals, evaluating reports, and completing any additional project-specific monitoring.

Managing large projects

Another key function of an enterprise project management office is managing large-scale projects. Establishing an enterprise project management office can make it easier to manage all the different aspects of a complex project by standardizing project management processes and enhancing communication across an organization. Enterprise project management offices can also effectively manage small-scale projects, but companies typically establish them to help them handle large and complex projects.

How to establish an EPMO

Here are the steps you can follow if you're interested in establishing an enterprise project management office:

1. Set the framework

Start by setting the framework of the office. To do this, determine the goals you hope to achieve with the office so that you can create a vision and mission statement. This ensures everyone involved with the office understands what they're working toward.

2. Conduct a gap analysis

Next, conduct a gap analysis on the company's current skills, processes, and capabilities. This process can allow you to determine areas of the company requiring strengthening, allowing the office to improve those areas. For example, if you notice employees struggle to meet deadlines, the enterprise project management office can focus on creating realistic timelines and helping teams adhere to them.

3. Hire and train a team

Once you understand the enterprise project management office's objectives, you can request the company to hire a team to operate it. The company might choose to hire internally or externally. If the company has employees available that may be a good fit for the team, internal hiring can save time. In some cases, hiring internal employees for the office leaves a gap in the company, so it may decide to hire externally instead. Here are some of the typical roles you may be looking to fill to operate the enterprise project management office:

  • Director

  • Manager

  • Analyst

  • Coordinator

  • Trainer

  • Strategist

4. Develop your methodology and process

Once you establish your team, you can create the methodology you plan to follow. While enterprise project management offices typically follow a similar structure, each one is unique to accommodate the company's goals. Creating a methodology also allows you to develop processes and policies that everyone on the team can follow. This helps keep everyone organized, allowing them to work more efficiently.

Benefits of using an EPMO

There are plenty of benefits of establishing an enterprise project management office, such as the following:

Standardizes project management

Having an enterprise project management office can also help standardize all the components of project management, including:

  • Project language and terms

  • Best practices

  • Goals

  • Resource management

  • Communication channels

  • Project procedures

Standardizing project management can improve the efficiency and quality of projects. It can allow you to apply the same processes to different projects and streamline the project planning process.

Related: Why Project Management Is Important (and Tips for Success)

Helps meet broader company goals

The main goal of an enterprise project management office is to help teams meet project goals, but the office can also help teams meet broader company goals. It ensures all projects align with the company's vision and organizational goals, allowing teams to work toward both simultaneously to help improve the company's overall success.

Enhances communication

Another benefit of establishing an enterprise project management office is enhancing communication among people involved with a project. For example, enterprise project management offices often communicate directly with the company's executive teams. Additionally, they're often responsible for creating project management communication plans to improve communication by:

  • Setting clearly defined communication channels

  • Assigning specific employee roles

  • Creating communication procedures and guidelines

  • Designating collaboration methods

Related: Communication in Organizations (With Benefits and Types)

Managing multiple projects

Teams that work on multiple projects simultaneously may struggle to keep track of their tasks and goals. This can make it harder for teams to meet their deadlines and produce excellent work. Having an enterprise project management office can help teams multitask more efficiently as it improves communication, enhances productivity, and standardizes many key processes.

Improving management of large and complex projects

Enterprise project management offices can also help teams work on larger and more complex projects. Conversely, many traditional project management models work better on small or simple projects, making it hard for teams to use them to complete large and complex projects. Enterprise project management offices make complex projects more accessible by simplifying large projects into smaller and easier to complete elements.

Increasing productivity

Another important benefit of enterprise project management offices is that all their functions, including enhancing communication and standardizing processes, can increase employee productivity. This can help them complete more projects successfully, which can also significantly contribute to the company's overall success. In addition, increased productivity can also help employees achieve all their goals, motivating them to keep working hard.

Related: 8 Job Training Methods to Improve Employee Productivity

Basic enterprise office structure

Although different companies may set up their enterprise project management offices in different ways, most of them have the same basic structure. Each enterprise project management office has a director or manager who leads the office team and takes responsibility for managing and overseeing projects. In addition, the director is usually the person responsible for directly communicating with the company's executive team.

In addition to working with the executive team, the director may also manage all other parties involved in the project. Project managers and other people involved with projects meet to plan project strategies and execute project activities.

PMO vs. EPMO

An enterprise project management office is a type of project management office. The key difference between the two types of offices is that enterprise project management offices focus directly on the overall goals of an organization. They work to connect projects to the overarching company goals. Traditional PMOs tend to focus more on basic project management rather than emphasizing the strategic alignment of projects and goals. Furthermore, PMOs usually work at the department level of a company, while enterprise project management offices work at the enterprise level.

EPMOs and PMOs are not mutually exclusive, as some companies choose to embrace both to experience the benefits of both project management approaches. In this case, the enterprise project management office can work to complement the traditional project management office rather than replace it altogether. Companies may also use enterprise project management offices to help bring different project management offices together.

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