Selling the PMO: Are They Still Relevant?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

So how is that project management office thing working out for you?

This could be one of the most fundamental questions to pose for many organizations today. Of course, to judge by their prevalence, PMOs should be alive, well and ticking along nicely, thank you very much. One of the fundamental structures that is implemented along the road toward establishing an organizational approach to dealing with projects is a PMO.

Many organizations don’t stop there, however. A surprising number of some very large (and also very prominent) organizations have several entities that might subscribe to the title. At one recent organization that I consulted with, the presence of a PMO at a corporate level inspired the creation of numerous business unit-level PMOs. The reason? The projects in their business unit were “different”, and therefore needed their own focus, attention and process--in an organization where the objective of the corporate PMO was to promote the development of consistent practices and approaches.

From the introduction thus far, one might surmise that I’m against the idea of the PMO. That would be a simple and simplistic answer. After all, I’ve worked for several, managed several more and supported the implementation of numerous PMOs on a consulting basis. I am, according to the website this article appears on, the manager of the…

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"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

- Oscar Wilde

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