Project Management

The Strategic PMO: What About the PMs?

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.

In the last few years, I have been advocating the need for PMOs to take on a more strategic role within organizations. You can see it in some of the articles that I have written here, you may have heard it in some of the webinars that I have presented, and I have shared my thoughts with some of you on a more individual basis.

However, as one reader pointed out via email recently, I haven’t ever addressed what the implications of this strategic shift are for project managers. The person that wrote to me is a PM in a PMO that has recently been asked to assume portfolio management responsibilities for the organization--and as a result of this shift in focus, the PMs are now feeling unsupported.

I suspect that this is a situation that is repeating itself in a number of organizations, so I will try and offer some thoughts here. Before I start, there is one thing that I think is important--I don’t believe that problems for PMs are automatically caused by a PMO becoming more strategic in focus, I think that the problem is one of execution, management and/or resourcing, and here’s why…

A PMO is a business function, not a project function. But when a PMO is asked to make a fundamental change to the work that it performs or to its areas of accountability, that’s a project. It has a specific and unique purpose (to change the role of the PMO), …

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