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A sourcing framework for a PMO

How can a project management office (PMO) readily access skills and capacity to get projects done?

From Right Lane’s experience of working with our clients’ Project Management Offices (PMOs), we propose a sourcing framework to assist in deciding whether a project – or the roles within a project – should be outsourced or kept in-house.

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Project management offices (PMO) are under stress – they are asked to deliver an ever increasing list of projects and to take greater accountability for project outcomes, often without a commensurate increase in staffing.

How can a PMO readily access skills and capacity (the ‘supply’ side of the equation) to get projects done (the ‘demand’)?

From our experience of working with PMOs, we propose a sourcing framework to assist in deciding whether a project – or the roles within a project – should be outsourced or kept in-house.

We look at a project in two dimensions:

  1. What is the organisation’s capacity and willingness to deliver this particular project?
  2. What is the organisation’s capability to do this project?

There are also the organisational considerations when staffing initiatives and projects, including:

  • balancing the utilisation of staff – not under-utilising, but also not stretching for long periods
  • having the right mix of expertise, some of which may only be required for short term
  • developing people with the right opportunities.

With these considerations often comes the need to be a more flexible organisation, deploying and redeployment people more dynamically.

This framework suggests three main sourcing approaches:

  1. Insource: make use of the capacity, willingness and capability of staff to deliver the project
  2. Outsource or contract: make use of another organisation’s or individual’s capacity and capability to deliver the project
  3. Collaborate: work closely with another organisation to complement or up-skill your own capabilities, sometime as a transition from outsourcing to insourcing.

To decide between insourcing and outsourcing in situations where an organisation has the capability but low capacity and willingness, questions can be asked about the ability to deliver to quality expectations and the importance or priority of this project relative to others.

So, the next time your PMO is asked to deliver another project, ask yourself: what is the best sourcing approach to get this project done?

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For further information, please contact Marc Levy