Project Management

A Hierarchy of PMOs?

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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

The Enterprise Project Management Office (or EPMO) has seen a steady increase in popularity in the last few years. As organizations look for a centralized project management function that can bridge departmental boundaries, the EPMO offers an obvious solution--all of the benefits of a PMO without being perceived as an IT-centric body (or other departmentally aligned PMO).

At the same time, consolidation of multiple PMOs into a single enterprise-wide entity allows organizations to save money through economies of scale and to improve standardization in the way that projects are executed across the organization. If the EPMO is also tasked with portfolio management-related tasks, then this again aligns well because the reach is already organization wide, just as the portfolio will be.

However, for project execution functions that exist lower down in the organization, the benefits may not be quite so obvious. A number of project managers have told me that the advent of EPMOs have left them feeling unsupported--the PMO that used to be able to help them with specific project challenges no longer exists, and the EPMO is too far removed from individual projects to be able to offer anything but generic advice.

PMOs that used to encourage dialogue with project practitioners around how to improve processes and tools have been replaced by an organization-wide standards body …

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- Harry S. Truman