Project Management

For Want of a Process

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

This month's column continues a discussion regarding the challenge of how to create Project Management Offices of value. This month continues this theme through a more detailed exploration of what it takes to create a value-adding PMO, how to get there and why it makes sense to do so. In the next few months we will explore the components that comprise effective PMOs, creating a detailed roadmap of both how to get there while avoiding the inevitable roadblocks and dead ends we will find along the way.
So you want a process. Or need one. For many charged with developing a PMO, the first challenge is the development of a project management process. In fact, this can be the key make-or-break proposition that determines whether or not a PMO will ultimately be successful. Project managers, sponsors and team members alike will subject the PMO and the resulting process to a great deal of scrutiny, endeavouring to read the tea leaves to predict what sort of new project order is likely to emerge.
The role of PMO as process advocate is in fact a very natural one. As the central focal point of project management within organizations, the PMO represents a natural source for process definition and guidance. The challenge that any PMO faces, however, is making sure that what is implemented is the right process. Done well, and projects can be managed appropriately, efficiently and …

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