Studying the PMO

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 markmullaly.com.

Without question, PMOs have been a hot topic. Like so many trends and fads, however, the perceived value of implementing a PMO has been far greater than what has actually been demonstrated. Not that what has been demonstrated is bad necessarily…the lack of data has meant that nobody had a clue whether PMOs were doing anything positive or not for the organizations that they support.

Worse, there has been extremely little information regarding just how PMOs are being used, what their role is, or what their level of visibility or perceived value is within an organization. Because of this, many organizations have hedged their bets in terms of what they define and establish as a PMO, and the degree that they commit to its development and influence.

The latest version of the Organizational Project Management Baseline Study conducted by Interthink Consulting was recently released, and includes some valuable information on the roles that PMOs and other project support groups are playing in improving project management within organizations. In particular, the results skewer the hesitant and half-baked approach to PMO implementation as being a waste of time and resources. In some organizations, the results being realized were better without any support structure in place than where it has been established on a tentative or informal basis.

In terms of overall structure, a full 69.9 …

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"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

- Chinese Proverb

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