Project Management

A Blueprint for Creating a Profitable and Sustainable Technology PMO (Part 2)

James Terry is New York City-based technology consultant and delivery practice leader with 20 years' experience of successfully managing large, complex business technology projects to completion. He has provided IT strategy and thought leadership to senior executives in multiple business sectors and has won awards for innovation. James has written whitepapers on strategies and best practices for a more effective and efficient project management practice. He can be reached at [email protected]

In Part I of this article, we looked at the rise of Project Management Organizations and the need to improve project success rates that have improved only marginally over the past 15 years. Most PMOs are born out of necessity, usually inheriting a number of troubled projects on Day 1. Their first priority is to extinguish existing fires, but what are the short- and long-term objectives for newly established PMOs? In Part 2, we will explore the expectations and what is required to create a sustainable and effective PMO.

Expectations of the PMO
Companies looking to hire outside resources for newly formed PMOs tend to focus on project management skills as well as an ability to enforce standards and processes. Searching online career opportunities for “Technology PMO” will usually list the following common requirements:

  • Governance and oversight for projects
  • Facilitate and enforce processes
  • Ensuring that standards, methodologies and processes are followed
  • Oversight and administration of the project portfolio
  • Manage the PMO team and provide individual PM support as needed
  • Assist with large-scale or at-risk projects

Most of these are reactive responsibilities, with limited strategic efforts to improve processes, add structure and consistency to project delivery. On the PPM Maturity Scale, these are level 1 and level 2 …

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"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. "

- Bertrand Russell