Can the PMO Create a Phoenix?

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.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

This one’s interesting (at least to me) because I lived through it. If nothing else, it’s interesting because I don’t know what happens at the end yet, but more than that it’s an opportunity to do something a little unusual. Here’s the situation…

One of my customers has a product that is now about 12 years old. It’s an internet application that is used by their end customers, and originally it was intended to be a simple application that would provide users with two or three simple and frequently requested pieces of information. Over the years it has evolved to add additional functions and features, but it has never really had a business owner or a product roadmap. In the last two or three years, it has been tasked with linking with numerous other tools (both in house and third party), effectively becoming a gateway to those tools that allows customers to get where they need to go while retaining the same interface that they have gotten used to over the last 12 years.

The problem is that everything has been bolted onto it piece by piece, and it’s groaning--threatening to break any day. It’s now been handed to the PMO with the mandate to try and modernize it and make it a tool for today that can truly act as a hub for all of these other tools without alienating the current user base.

So what does the PMO do?


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"Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

- Oscar Wilde

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