Making Cents

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

My role as a consultant exposes me to the practices of many organizations, and from a number of standpoints. One of the greater appreciations this has afforded me is the perspective of how processes are views by different stakeholder groups, and some of the dangers that can befall an unwary PMO in establishing its capabilities.

A situation that drove this home to me particularly clearly occurred a few months ago when the PMO within an organization I was consulting for started asking for my monthly status report. While I had no particular issues in sharing the information, the next request I received was to provide my status report in their corporate format rather than the one my company uses, followed by almost monthly changes to the layout of the template as they tweaked and modified it.

What was particularly interesting about this situation is that I suddenly found myself on the other side of the table from where I usually sit--being asked to comply with standards, rather than creating them. And I wound up having a fascinating internal dialogue about the frustrations in providing yet another version of my status to a group that had no impact on the actual work that I was engaged to conduct--apart from wanting that monthly status update.

As we set up Project Management Offices, it is incredibly easy to ignore the impact that our requests have on the projects we are …

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