Project Management

The Two-Tier PMO Model

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.

The enterprise project management office (or EPMO) continues to grow in popularity within organizations. The concept of a single centralized project management function offers obvious benefits in terms of economies of scale, the standardization of approach across all departments and programs, and the management of a portfolio at the highest level of the organization (where it should be managed).

However, as with any function that is consolidated into a shared service for all areas of the business, there is a danger that the control and management is too far removed from the execution. That can result in a “one size fits none” approach to project execution and drive the exact opposite results from what was intended.

As a result of this, many organizations are looking at a PMO hierarchy--a single, central EPMO that aligns with the portfolio and defines corporate-wide strategy and approach, paired with departmental-level (or sometimes program) PMOs that are modified versions of the distributed PMO model that organizations are more familiar with. Obviously these models are more expensive than a single, central EPMO, but that investment can pay back many times over. In this article, I want to look at some of the considerations necessary to build an effective two-tier model.

Clear separation and communication of functions
It seems obvious that if an …


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