Project Management

PMO Responsibility for Process Improvement

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 [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I have long said that whoever owns a process should also be accountable for the improvement of that process--and when we are talking about project management processes, that frequently means the PMO. In many organizations, the PMO owns the overall PM methodology and the processes, tools and templates that make up that methodology. They monitor compliance, provide guidance and support documents and help new PMs to understand and interpret the process. It therefore follows that they are also the group that needs to ensure that processes consistently improve.

In my mind, that role has extended beyond accountability and into responsibility--they aren’t just the group that ensures that improvements happen, they are also the group that drives that change forward. That can occur through a number of different methods--a continuous improvement program; a more formal process review and reengineering exercise driven by process audits or similar; or a comprehensive review of the entire methodology in response to a changing project execution environment (the growth of agile, the increasing focus on a portfolio view rather than simply a project view, etc.).

I recently chatted with the head of one PMO who has taken a rather different approach, and I think that it’s worth looking at their experience here…

Responsibility lives with practitioners
This PMO …

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"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."

- Rene Descartes