PMOs and Value Delivery: Is Perception Reality?

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 andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I was recently challenged on a position I put forward: that I felt PMOs were a good incubator for organizational leaders. My premise was that as PMOs continue to become increasingly involved in the process of connecting strategy and execution, they become more critical to organizational value delivery.

PMO leaders are now being increasingly appointed based as much (or more) on their business skills as on their project skills—and they can refine those skills further in an environment closely aligned with delivering a dynamic and evolving set of organizational priorities. I don’t want to spend this article specifically on the PMO leader’s role, but rather I want to look at that overall view of the role of today’s PMO and consider how it aligns with the perception of the PMO in other areas.

The person who challenged my perspective felt that PMOs were still a long way removed from value delivery; if that is a perception that remains common throughout organizations, then PMOs haven’t made as much progress as I think they have in recent years. It would be easy to dismiss such a perception as symptomatic of one particular organization or a single individual’s experience, but the truth is there is still a lot of misunderstanding of the PMO’s role—or perhaps more accurately, an absence of understanding of it.

An absence of …

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