عنوان مقاله [English]
Over the last decade, the project management office (PMO) has become a prominent featurein any rganizations. According to the project management literature, the PMO can be defined as an organizational body or entity that is assigned various responsibilities relating to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The PMO responsibilities can range from providing project management functions to directly and actually being involved in the management of the projects. Despite the proliferation of PMOs, in practice, our understanding of this phenomenon remains sketchy at best. No consensus exists as to the way PMOs are, or should be, structured, neither the functions they should undertake in organizations. Considering this fact, the aim of this study is to investigate the reality of PMOs in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry of Iran. This study is the first empirical study in Iran, so, it can be used as a landmark for other organizations to decide what they expect from a PMO.Due to lack of sufficient empirical research on the subject of PMOs, a reliable portrait of PMOs is not available. So, this research tries to provide such a portrait. This includes many aspects, such as the reasons for establishment of PMOs and their challenges, PMO functions, the number of projects under their control, the degree of their authority and the age of PMOs. As providing a descriptive portrait is, typically, an objective of exploratory research into a previously unexplored topic, the present research should be considered as descriptive and exploratory. In this regard, nine major Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical organizations, including the participation of three qualified experts from each organization, have been studied. Therefore, a uestionnaire was developed and tested. Moreover, feedback sessions were held with informants from the organizations to validate and discuss the results.According to the research findings, the PMO is almost a new concept in this industry; nearly 60% of the PMOs have been developed during the last 3 years. The term projectmanagement offices is used in the majority of studied organizations with a variety of roles and functions. Monitoring project performance, providing project software and tools, and preparing project management methodologies are the most applied functions. These functions aim to support the golden triangle (cost/time/ quality) of project objectives. Moreover, the most significant challenges for PMOs are the risk of changing organizational culture and the lack of professional staff. It is suggested that this research is developed by an investigation into the concept in other industries.