The 21st Century PMO

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

As Mark Mullaly shifts his focus to organizational project management, ProjectManagement.com has asked me to become the PMO Subject Matter Expert. I agreed without giving it too much thought--it sounded like an exciting opportunity, but now I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I can replace someone like Mark--those are big shoes to fill. Having stared at a blank page with a flashing cursor for half an hour, I’ve decided that I can’t. So instead, I’m going to reinvent the PMO (at least for this article…).

PMOs have been around for quite some time, and in the last decade or so some consistency has developed in their structure. We seem to be moving from the “every PMO is different” model to the “PMOs fit into one of several types” model. However, it seems to me that since the heady days of Y2K the world has changed a lot--and created a lot of opportunities for PMOs to reinvent themselves and create a new model. It may be that I am a power-crazed egomaniac, but I think PMOs can run the organization (if not the world).

Organizational basics
If we distill an organization down to its very basic elements, there are two types of functions--the function that concentrates on executing things the way that they are today (let’s call that Operations), and the function that focuses on improving the way that …

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