PMO Lite: Nightmare or Opportunity?

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.

Let me be completely upfront right at the start of this article--I don’t know what the right answer is. However, I do feel that it’s an interesting discussion, so would love to get your thoughts.

I have been approached by a customer for whom project management has been a little hit and miss in the past. They recognize that project management is important, and in a number of key roles they have hired PMPs because they believe that the role requires a formal project management skill set. However, they haven’t implemented a formal project management methodology, they don’t have a requirement for specific documents to be completed on any initiative, they lack formal review and approval processes, and the annual planning process is more focused on discussion of budgets and plans among executives than it is based on formal business cases and objective comparison of ROI and strategic fit.

They now want to try to add some formality around the way that projects are executed--and are looking at a PMO to act as an umbrella organization for that work. They want a central group to establish standards, improve overall quality of execution, ensure that better decision making occurs, etc. However, they aren’t ready to commit to a fully staffed PMO (really EPMO), an ongoing methodology, etc. They want to treat the PMO itself as a project for now, and …

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