PMO Trends

Patti Gilchrist, PMP, is a Senior Technical Manager with more than 20 years of IT experience. Visit her website at

The average lifespan of a PMO is four years, and the reasons accounting for this dismal statistic are many--including not being empowered with enough authority; a shortage of resources; lack of project management and leadership training provided by organizations; and unrealistic expectations.

And let’s face it: Many PMOs do not fully understand their role within the larger enterprise. As a result, they focus on areas that quite frankly do not prove beneficial. PMOs focusing primarily on project execution fall short in the critical mission to align to the organizational strategy and improve overall performance of the business.

So what can PMOs do to improve this lackluster statistic and increase the return on investment? Let’s look at a few of the emerging trends for PMOs to help answer that question:

Redefined vision of project entrepreneurship where PMOs help shape business to technology collaboration and drive innovation. According to PMI, project managers must “cultivate a new mind set to take on risks, focus on business value and foster innovation.” Opportunity risk is beneficial and can open pathways that in the past have been impenetrable for PMO organizations. To be successful in the emerging business environment, PMOs need to shift focus to promote innovation versus being the process police.

Customer-centric focus of the PMO.

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