Conducting an OPM Inventory

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who had been working at a fairly large organization (that will remain unnamed to protect the guilty) in trying to understand how much money they were spending on project management. The organization was looking to implement an EPMO, and before they committed to that major step they wanted to ensure that they fully understood the scope of the work.

You wouldn’t think that it would be too difficult to inventory the project portfolio, would you? I wish I could say that some of the following is exaggerated, but it isn’t…

So, how many projects do we have?
This was the question that started my colleague’s work with this company. The executive team had tried to identify the list and hadn’t gotten anywhere. There were discussions about what was or wasn’t a project--as the CEO recounts it, there was a discussion between two department heads about whether a project was actually a project or whether it was something else (“It’s not a project, it’s just an initiative!”). The CEO’s concern was that the project (initiative?) had been completed three months earlier.

Clearly, this company had some challenges. Project management was not standardized across the organization--the IT group had an established PMO with a fairly mature project methodology, although it was…

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