The Changing World of the IT PMO

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.

In many organizations, PMOs first appeared within information technology. IT had the largest concentration of projects, and those projects originated from many different sources. There needed to be a way to regulate and control how those projects were prioritized, initiated and managed.

In addition, IT had to provide resources to projects in many other business areas—and it needed a way to make sure the right people were assigned, that dependencies across project and business areas were understood and controlled, and that people weren’t over- or under-allocated. It therefore made perfect sense that those early PMOs should be created in IT and that they should act as oversight and control functions.

In some organizations, nothing much has changed since then. Those PMOs still exist, and they still have pretty much the same purpose. They may now act more cooperatively with PMOs from other departments, and they may have a relationship with an EPMO or similar function operating at an organizational level, but the core function of many IT PMOs is little changed from those early days.

However, those IT PMOs are often not seen as being as necessary as when they were first created. IT service management (ITSM) software has become more advanced and can provide much of the prioritization and oversight functionality. And the growth of agile project delivery methods has…

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