PMO Prognosis

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.

It’s difficult to believe that five years ago this month I was asked to step in as the “department manager” on PMOs. Many, many articles and numerous debates and discussions later, I find myself reflecting on where we’ve come from and where things will go in the future.
A lot has changed in the last five years, and yet much is still the same. There still isn’t any one agreed upon definition of what a Project Management Office is, and there likely won’t be one any time soon. As I’ve discussed on several occasions in the past, the PMO means different things to different organizations, and that’s how it should be. While differences in purpose may be both necessary and desirable, however, the visibility of the PMO within the organization is probably the single greatest issue today.
Ninety years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for organizations to have a “VP of electrification”. The idea behind this new position was that electricity represented a strategic opportunity for organizations, and that a senior executive was required to guide the organization in determining how to best leverage and harness this new capability. Today, you don’t see a whole lot of this, and electricity certainly isn’t viewed as the strategic capability it once was. It’s essential to organizations and embedded in their overall …

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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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