Project Management

Ensuring PMO Success

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

Despite their high failure rate, PMOs have the potential to deliver numerous benefits to the enterprise. A centralized project portfolio view can save companies money by identifying strategic initiatives that offer the highest ROI and proactively detecting potential issues, thus reducing project failures.

PMOs also increase organizational effectiveness, helping executives achieve intended business outcomes via established best practices, optimized processes, standardized project management practices and defined methodologies for repeatable processes. Unfortunately, many PMOs fail. In fact, the average lifespan of a PMO is only four years.

So what can executive leadership do to ensure the success of PMOs?

1. Establish the right reporting structureto position the PMO for strategic success. In an effective PMO, PMO leadership participates in setting strategic direction. To successfully do so, PMOs must be aligned to the decision-making level of the organization.

PMOs have the most impact when they have an influential position within the organization, reporting directly to an executive business leader (PBM Concepts, Executive PMO Research).

A recent Forrester Research-Project Management Institute survey found that PMO reporting structures can impact the perception of value (, PPM), and PMOs reporting to business leaders were perceived as delivering the…

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If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.

- Dan Quayle