PMO as Project Support

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.

A little while ago, I had a very interesting conversation with someone who was running a PMO for the IT department of a rather large organization. They were concerned that PMs were spending a lot of time on administrative functions rather than project management. The PMO head was concerned about this for a number of reasons:

  • It wasn’t the best use of the project manager’s time
  • PMs were a lot more expensive than dedicated resources for administrative functions
  • There was concern that PMs would become bored and frustrated and potentially look to move on to another organization
  • The work was potentially not being executed as effectively as if it were being carried out by dedicated administrators

This all came out early in the conversation, so I asked the PMO head why he hadn’t already done something about it if he was so convinced that the current structure wasn’t working. Well, he was ready for that question and had his list of concerns for that, too:

  • Moving admin functions to a separate team had the potential of moving PMs away from direct contact with some project elements
  • Administrators may miss some of the early warning signs that a project manager would catch
  • Creating a consolidated admin function would be expensive with no guarantees that it would provide payback
  • PMs may feel that the PMO was…

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