The Professional Services 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.

One of my clients asked me to assist them to improve the effectiveness of their PMO. When we were talking about the scope of the work that they needed, they made it clear that the PMO was only responsible for the professional services arm of the business. They are a software company that has a very clear demarcation between the team that builds the product and the team that works with clients on implementations--the professional services arm that I was to work with.

It was made very clear to me that they weren’t prepared to discuss extending the scope of the PMO to include the product development team--and that any improvements that I implemented had to respect that. In this article, I would like to share a few of the challenges, how we addressed them, the success that was achieved and some of the lessons learned.

The challenges
The biggest problem that was described to me was around the client perception of the PMO. Clients often had multiple projects with the organization--the initial implementation and then later upgrades. Customers were complaining of inconsistent processes and communications, as well as a lack of consistency in resources. There were also concerns on all projects (first time or repeat) about an unwillingness to adapt project approaches to the needs of the customer and a general lack of confidence in the ability of the PM team.

In …

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