Grocery Shopping for PMOs

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 imagine most of you go grocery shopping each week. You probably don’t think too much about the process, but it’s actually a fairly complex activity. You likely recognize some of that complexity by planning for it, and you probably call that plan a shopping list.

When you get to the store you have a consistent route that you take based on practical aspects—you don’t get the eggs first because then they end up at the bottom of the cart with tins on top of them. You also probably leave refrigerated or frozen items until late in the shop to minimize the time they are subjected to warmer temperatures. At the checkout you ensure items are bagged logically—again, avoiding things like eggs or bread at the bottom with heavy items on top, and not mixing things like laundry detergent and fresh meat in the same bag.

Those aren’t things you consciously think about each week, they are simply routines that you repeat on a regular basis. But if you made different choices, the impact could be significant—damaged or spoiled products, wasted money, etc.

Proactive governance
What has all this got to do with an article on PMOs? Well, I believe that if PMOs took a “grocery shopping” approach to project selection and allocation, the results would be far better than they currently are. Many PMOs focus on governance, and in recent years …


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Do, or else do not. There is no 'try'.

- Yoda

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