Gaining PMO Experience

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.

One of the questions I get asked a lot when talking about PMOs concerns its structure and size. People always want to know how many people should work in the PMO, what kind of roles there should be and how people should be recruited.

Those are very good questions, especially as PMOs are playing a crucial role in ensuring projects achieve the business results the organizations are expecting, but they are very difficult to answer. That’s because every PMO is different, so the needs will be different. I also don’t subscribe to a model where a PMO has a huge number of staff; it should be lean and focused, reflecting the agile business concepts (not the same as agile project approaches) that are driving project delivery today.

An organization may have a number of PMOs, all with slightly different focuses in terms of business area or specialty, and that drives different skills needs, staffing numbers, experience, etc. It therefore truly is impossible to create a standard staffing model or to define the “perfect” PMO resource.

However, PMOs clearly need staff—and those staff members must come from somewhere. It’s also important to recognize that PMOs, just like every other part of the project delivery environment, don’t exist in isolation. They can only succeed when working collaboratively with project managers and teams, business …


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