The PMO Integration Problem (Part 1)

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.

It’s been a long time since the events that I am about to recount to you, and it’s taken me all of that time to recover from the emotional scars enough to recount the story here. It was my first ever project as a consultant--I was working for a small firm and was asked to go to a major company to help them integrate their IT PMOs. These PMOs had previously been structured as standalone functions within the IT teams of each of the company’s divisions--and with the decision to centralize IT, all of those different PMOs now needed to come together to form one cohesive unit in a merger of 16 different groups.

Of course, at the same time, the assessment and management of all of the company’s projects had to continue without a loss of performance, and the expected cost savings had to be realized as quickly as possible.

With hindsight, I should have run. But I didn’t, and hopefully now I can look back and find a few lessons in the mess. In this two-part article, I want to help guide you through my experience: what I did, what I took from it and how I would do things differently if given the opportunity to repeat the project.

In the Beginning: The Cat Herding Begins
The first thing that I realized when I walked in the door was that I was not dealing with a newly created PMO, I was dealing with 16 distinct PMOs that just so happened to now …

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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

- Edith Wharton