The Difference Between EPMO and TMO

Insights | 13 February 2018

I recently met with a CEO to discuss the setup of a Transformation Management Office (TMO) to support the transformation of the business. Having been met with the response “but we already have an Enterprise Portfolio Management Office” (EPMO), I thought it timely to elaborate on the differences between the two.

What differentiates the TMO from the EPMO is that it has the mandate to transform the organisation and governance from the C Suite, which ensures it has the highest priority when implementing and affecting change. The TMO is a temporary governance vehicle that survives for the duration of the transformation and is often disbanded when the transformation is complete. If we acknowledge that transformations cannot succeed without the support and drive of the C Suite, then the establishment of a TMO will ensure engagement at the highest level of the organisation.

Where an EPMO exists, the TMO will work closely with the EPMO to ensure fit for purpose delivery approach and controls. That said, the TMO will retain primacy due to the nature of its transformation objectives opposed to the steady state role often played by an EPMO.

One of the key reasons for the establishment of a TMO is to ensure successful delivery of the transformation and to drive alignment across the organisation and the C Suite. In turn, the transformation objectives are met rather than being distracted by the objectives of specific programs of work.

Does your company have the need for a TMO to be established? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

If you need help with your business transformation, please contact PM-Partners on 1300 70 13 14.

About The Author

Ken Sheargold

Ken joined PM-Partners as a Transformation Consultant in February 2016 and will be taking on the role of CEO on May 8th 2017. Ken is responsible for delivering major transformational change where there is complexity, risk, many inter-dependencies and conflicting priorities.

Prior to joining PM-Partners group he held a number of executive appointments in the NSW Government and Telstra Corporation.

His most recent appointment in government was the Executive Director, Premiers Implementation Unit directly responsible for supporting the Premier in the delivery of his key priorities across NSW. Prior to working in the Department of Premier and Cabinet he was the Executive Director of ServiceFirst, the shared services organisation responsible for the provision of shared services to the central agencies of government.

He was the Program Director and commercial lead for the outsourcing of ServiceFirst that successfully executed contracts with Unisys and Infosys in June 2015 with a total contract value of $235 million dollars.

Prior to joining the NSW Government, he held a number of senior appointments in Telstra Corporation. Those appointments included Executive Director Corporate Strategy and Customer Experience and Executive Director Service Advantage.

4 thoughts on “The Difference Between EPMO and TMO”

  1. Meredith England says:

    Interesting Ken, I agree that transformation requires a very different kind of governance, quite specifically because of the interdependencies of renewal efforts. The trade off and prioritisation in PMOs can really work against the kind of systemic, whole of organisation transformation efforts. While a TMO mechanism may well be temporary, I also see a real need for ongoing governance in the space of decision making for constant, adaptive transformation. It requires a different kind of decision dynamic, works with different inputs (most) often qualitative.

    1. PM-Partners says:

      Meredith, I agree with you, I recently wrote an article on adaptive transformations. Perhaps a TMO might be a permanent fixture in business given change is now the constant. Ken

  2. Mohamed Elsabban says:

    Can you please define the main functions of the TMO within a conventional bank for example and what should be the governance model to guarantee not to overlap with strategy office or EPMO and the most important the head of the business units

    1. PM-Partners says:


      The main functions within the TMO will be dependent on the component parts of the Transformation in the Bank. Once you determine those component parts you can design a ‘fit for purpose TMO’ to meet the transformation objectives. The Governance of the TMO should be managed by the C Suite given the primacy of the transformation for the business. The EPMO can be part of the governance as an observer to ensure no overlap if required.


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