How to Assess Your PMO’s Performance with Industry Benchmarks

Published September 1, 2023
by Maddie Moore

A Program Management Office (PMO) is an internal department that manages projects and business strategy in an organization. Regardless of the industry, PMOs are responsible for program governance, planning, execution, reporting, and support. Regularly assessing your PMO’s Performance against benchmarks is essential to measure the PMO’s impact on the organization.

Understanding Industry Benchmarks for PMOs

Benchmarking in Program Management involves using data to assess whether a program is achieving its objectives. This process offers advantages, such as providing program managers and team members with valuable performance feedback, enabling informed decision-making, and allowing further collaboration with stakeholders. By measuring success in alignment with benchmarks, PMOs can identify potential risks and inconsistencies, allowing them to take proactive measures in addressing issues. The PMO’s approach facilitates continuous improvement, ensuring that the program focuses on the metrics tailored to the organization’s business goals. Within the PMO industry, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are commonly divided into four categories, which include financial, customer-focused, operational, and business capability KPIs. There are endless types of KPIs that can be used to measure success. Listed below are some common KPIs used for each category.

Identifying Financial KPIs

Financial KPIs are essential for assessing the financial health of a program. These allow PMOs to evaluate and optimize their financial performance, empowering data-driven decision-making and long-term success. 

  • Cost Performance Index is used to assess the program’s efficiency in completing the designated tasks within the allocated budget. It is computed by dividing the earned value by the actual cost. Earned value represents the budgetary resources allocated for completed work up to a specific stage whereas the actual cost tracks whether the program stays within or exceeds its budget.  
  • Cost Variance, similar to the Cost Performance Index, is a metric used to determine the difference between the allocated budget and what was actually spent on the projects. This allows PMOs to oversee the various projects to determine if they are over or under budget. 
  • Return on Sales is a metric used to evaluate what percentage of sales revenue is translating into profit. This aids in gauging the efficiency and effectiveness of budgeting and sales strategies. 

Analyzing Customer-Focused KPIs

Customer-focused KPIs help PMOs understand how well their program meets the customer’s needs and expectations. The following metrics allow PMOs to assess the program’s influence on customers, such as website interaction or sales team engagement. By analyzing these KPIs, PMOs can continuously improve customer experience and build stronger relationships with their target audience. 

  • Success Rate is used to measure customer interactions and satisfaction levels. It is important to note that this metric interpretation will vary depending on the industry and organization. 
  • Customer Engagement is evaluated by the length of time a customer spends on digital platforms or how often they are interacting with the necessary teams. Tracking how engaged your customers or potential customers are, helps in building returning customers, increasing the customer retention rate. 
  • Customer Satisfaction is a crucial KPI to obtain for gaining customer feedback and product ratings. Customer satisfaction can be measured in a variety of ways, commonly measured in the form of surveys or reviews. 

Examining Operational KPIs

Operational KPIs focus on the program’s efficiency and effectiveness, measuring the impact of operations on revenue and profits. Although operational metrics are not directly tied to customer metrics, they do impact customer engagement. 

  • On-Time Delivery Rate evaluates the performance of program management components delivered to customers within the expected timeframe. This reflects the punctuality of the suppliers, ensuring the project requirements are met on time.  
  • Resolution Rate looks at the number of customer requests and how quickly these various issues are resolved. It is measured by taking the number of requests received divided by the number of completed requests. 
  • Communication Effectiveness measures the efficiency of internal and external communications, enhancing collaboration and minimizing misunderstandings within the workplace. Strong communication efforts assist in optimizing resource allocation and promote a cohesive work environment.  

Measuring Business Capability KPIs

Business Capability KPIs play a role in enhancing the effectiveness of a PMO. Evaluating the ‘health’ of your teams provides valuable insights into a team’s well-being, collaboration, and productivity. The following KPIs enable the PMO to optimize processes, enhance project performance, and achieve strategic business goals efficiently. 

  • Analyzing Expected Program Benefits vs. Actual Outcomes allows the PMO to track specific metrics on the program’s success, identify areas for improvement, and set primary goals and expectations. The actual outcomes should periodically be compared with the goals and be adjusted as needed.  
  • Monitoring Speed to Learning helps the PMO understand the organization’s ability to adapt and improve through the PMO’s continuous education and innovation.  
  • Time to Deployment (TTD) analyzes how long it takes the PMO or organization to make important decisions relating to the deployment into testing or production. Tracking this metric shows when important decision-making is taking too long (or too short) and highlights opportunities for process automation. It is important to note that while striving to increase efficiency, quality checks and testing should not be compromised, as this will only delay the TTD if errors are not discovered early enough in the process. 


Benchmarking is a useful tool for a Program Management Office, allowing it to measure performance against industry benchmarks and make data-driven decisions. By identifying and analyzing financial, customer-focused, operational, and business capability KPs, PMOs can continuously improve their programs, achieve better outcomes, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.