PMO Lessons Learned

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.

When a project wraps up, the project manager is usually expected to complete some form of lessons learned process. It probably involves some sort of questionnaire distributed to stakeholders, and then a review of the consolidated findings that in turn generates a report with recommendations for how future projects could improve.

More often than not, the PMO is part of that process in a number of ways. Firstly, the PMO representative on the project will be invited to take part in the lessons learned exercise as one of the stakeholders, contributing their thoughts on what went well and what could be improved. Secondly, the PMO is likely to be one of the recipients of the report that is the output of the lessons learned process. It may well be the key body for determining whether any changes need to be made to the way projects are executed as a result of that analysis.

I’ve got no issues with either of those roles for the PMO, though we could perhaps look at how much serious consideration is given to improving the project approach as a result of lessons learned. However, where I want to focus in this article is whether the lessons learned concept should be applied to the PMO itself. It strikes me that a lot of the organizations I work with have complaints about how their PMO is managed and the results it delivers, but very few try to conduct any analysis to improve …

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"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

- Oscar Wilde

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