Project Management

The Outsourced PMO

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.

I don’t often write case studies, but as I discovered more about this particular PMO the more I thought that it would make a good basis for an article. I first heard about the situation in that most clichéd of places--a bar. I was meeting up with someone that I hadn’t seen for a while to catch up, and after a couple of adult-oriented beverages he mentioned that he knew of an organization that was running a fully outsourced PMO. I’ll confess that my initial reaction was that I didn’t think that he had consumed that much to drink, but it turns out that he was right--this company had decided to fully outsource its PMO.

I looked into it a little more and called up the company to see if I could get a little more insight into what they were doing; it seemed like a really interesting model that I wanted to better understand. With their permission, here’s the story followed by my thoughts on what we might be able to learn from this approach for more traditional PMOs.

A need for a creative solution
This company had tried to implement PMOs in the past with a rather low level of success. It had tried a project control type PMO that was designed to provide centralized reporting, process audit and process improvement, but it had experienced a lot of problems around buy-in. Project managers distrusted the PMO and tried to bypass it, often …

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