PMOs: Delivering Value in an Imperfect World

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 recently gave a presentation on the importance of PMOs in helping organizations to consistently deliver on their strategy. At the heart of the presentation was a message that some of you will probably have heard or read from me before—that the PMO is a business function that exists to improve business performance through projects.

That means it needs to be given a formal mandate—a purpose—and have goals and objectives set by leadership that it must execute against. An increasing number of organizations are recognizing that fact and are beginning to treat PMOs like the business departments they are, setting them annual objectives and establishing a clear purpose for the continued investment in the function.

However, there are still a lot of PMOs that lack such a clear mandate. These are the PMOs that have been created without a defined purpose, or simply with the vague notion that they will “improve project management,” whatever that means. One of the leaders of such a PMO came up to me after my presentation looking for guidance. He wanted to ensure his team was focused on areas that added value to the organization, but he was getting nothing in the way of direction from his leadership team. They seemed unsure of what they wanted him to do. He asked me how he could make sure he was focused on the right things in the absence of that …


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"When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us."

- Alexander Graham Bell

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