PMOs and the Advancement of Project Management

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-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.

PMOs have been evolving in recent years, with a general shift from a tactical focus to a more strategic one. That’s manifesting itself in a number of different ways from a more business-focused mandate to alignment with portfolio management and a longer-term focus in the way projects are executed.

Those are all very positive developments, and I believe that PMOs are now better positioned than ever to not only succeed in their own right, but also to help drive project execution success for the entire organization. However, there are still some areas where I think more work is necessary, and one of the most significant of those areas is the strategic development of project management.

I see PMOs that still hold some accountability for developing individual PMs through coaching programs, formal or less-formal training and development initiatives, and perhaps even mentoring. However, ironically these functions are less prevalent in many organizations than they were a few years ago as PMOs have “downloaded” them to other parts of the business as the PMO moved to more strategic roles.

I understand that thinking: If the PMO is focused on enterprise-wide project execution, it is likely not the right group to concentrate on the development of specific skills in individual PMs; that should be handled by functional areas or more senior PMs.

Where there should…

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