The Project Management Office Initiative

In our combined 60+ years of experience, we see the current explosion of PMOs as a very significant event, considering project management history of the past 35 years. CIOs, executives, and project and program managers are all looking for better results and a way out of their current problems. Finally, many more organizations are recognizing the need for a more centralized approach.

Briefly, a PMO is a centralized organization dedicated to improving the practice and results of project management. Some PMO initiatives are minimal, involving part-time staff to help out on projects as needed. Other initiatives involve huge infrastructure, with rigid centralized planning, control and methodology.

Are the executives ecstatic about this development? No! In fact, our clients and our survey results indicate that there is huge resistance to imple-

menting a PMO and difficulty in maintaining it once it is implemented. Further, many PMOs are not driving breakthroughs (15%+ improvement) in project management results. If they are driving any improvement, it is 1 or 2% on paper. Many PMOs are not even measuring their effect in a way that is meaningful to senior executives.

Most executives we know are very wary about any suggestion that involves an increase in corporate overhead. Executives have ample experience showing that the cost side of any proposition always comes true, while the benefits often do not. At a time when operating "lean" is part of every executive's strategy to keep costs under control, the idea of implementing a PMO is not easy to sell.

We are also witness to many PMOs that initially attract executives with the words "more control." Executives believe that many projects are out of control — in terms of time, budget, scope or all of the above. They are correct, but often attribute these symptoms to the wrong root problem. They believe that there is not enough pressure or centralized control over projects. So when an advocate for a PMO comes to senior management and offers "strict control," the executives' ears perk up.

Unfortunately, all too often "strict control" translates to unacceptable bureaucracy, longer project duration times, resistance and fighting among project managers who believe their independence and creativity are diminished. We believe strongly that the correct answer does not lie in "strict control."

Executives tell us that they are tired of suggestions based on overused buzzwords — improved productivity, better customer satisfaction, improved skills and even improved "quality." Executives need more profits, more stakeholder value, better cash flow, easier ability to get funding, and greater competitiveness. Even if these words are part of a PMO proposal, executives need more. They must see the road map — how the PMO will deliver on these promises.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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