No Cut-and-Paste PMO

Abid Mustafa

Abid Mustafa is a seasoned professional with 18 years' experience in the IT and telecommunications industry, specializing in enhancing corporate performance through the establishment and operation of executive PMOs and delivering tangible benefits through the management of complex transformation programs and projects.

Trying to convince executives to implement a best-practice methodology is a recipe for failure when establishing a program or portfolio management office. Better to cultivate a PMO identity based on a thorough analysis of what executives really want. Here are some techniques to get started.

The establishment of PMOs is a daunting task that requires great sagacity and perseverance. What is of paramount importance for the PMO’s success and longevity is to make the management of executive interests an intrinsic feature of PMOs, while weaving them into the very fabric of the project organization. This implies that the design and construction of the PMO must happen organically. The structure of the PMO cannot be imposed or rushed, but must develop naturally.

In practice, however, there is a strong impulse to simply “cut and paste” PMO solutions. This is often done without a correct understanding of the problems affecting projects and possessing an inaccurate assessment of executive views on the role of the PMO. In most cases, PMOs are established based on an arbitrary executive instruction.

The most important facet in the establishment of the PMO is to clearly recognize what role the executives want the PMO to play. Some conventional approaches rely on questionnaires that ask executives to respond to pre-defined roles for PMOs such as “Would you …

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