PMOs: Take Inspiration from Internal Audit Functions

PMI Southern Ontario Chapter

Bruce is the founder of ProjectManagementHacks.com, a resource for growing IT project managers.

From time to time, I suggest looking outside the project management community for new ideas. Instead of listening to the digital disruptors of Silicon Valley, let’s take a look at internal audit (IA) functions. While IA has a different end goal compared to PMOs, we can learn from their approach.

1. Report to the board of directors. To guarantee their independence, internal audit departments usually report to the audit committee of the board of directors. That reporting line empowers audit to identify problems and speak up. What if some form of this practice was adopted by PMOs?

The PMO could present “enterprise critical” level projects to the board on a quarterly or annual basis. This process would help the directors make better recommendations to management. It would also strengthen the PMO’s reputation. There are two main barriers to this point:

  1. There may be not a dedicated board sub-committee that is a good fit for PMO matters.
  2. Other executives like the CTO or CIO may see PMO matters as falling under their distinction.

Here are a few ways to put this approach into action:

  • Identify current practices to leverage. Review the board’s presentation packages and schedule of presentations. You are looking for opportunities to present a project or PMO report. The CIO or technology reporting package may be a suitable venue.

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