Project Management

Big Data: Is it a Big Deal for PMOs?

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

Big Data has become a hot topic these days. In fact, some are calling it “sexy”. According to “Rise of the Geeks as Big Data Gets Sexy”, Harvard Business Review describes the data scientist role as the “sexiest job in the world in the 21st century.” And according to Forbes, the data scientist is the “definitionof sexy”. Is this all just hype? Not according to Forbes. Big Data is “Big Market and Big Business”. The Big Data market is expected to reach $50 billion by 2017.

So what does this all mean? Even more importantly for PMOs, will this emerging trend have an impact on the PMO and its role in the organization? Will PMOs who embrace this emerging technologic trend reshape the perception of their role? Can PMOs become…sexy?

The past high failure rate of traditional PMOs has precluded them from being considered sexy. Let’s face it: Failure is not pretty. And then, of course, there is the unattractive perception of PMOs as inflexible, bureaucratic agencies and nasty enforcers of rigid and often unnecessary processes and redundant deliverables.

While many PMOs will cling to traditional approaches, forward-thinking PMOs will embrace emerging trends such as Big Data as an opportunity to redefine their role as a valuable and strategic partner capable of providing solutions aligned to the …

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