Project Management

No PMO, No Problem? A Project Manager's Survival Guide

Fatima Touré is a Geneva-based project manager and business originator, with over 10 years’ experience spanning the information and communications technology (ICT) and oil and gas industries. With international experience, attention to detail, and organizational and people skills, she has successfully managed high-level projects. Ms. Touré holds a bachelor’s degree in international business, a master’s degree in international development, and is a Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification holder.

Although the vast majority of organizations understand the value of having a project management office (PMO), about 15% of organizations still do not have one. This article reflects on organizations that do not have a PMO, perhaps because they do not see the business need due to outsourcing or for other reasons related to the type of organization or the industry they are in.

The article further discusses whether project managers can be successful in organizations without a PMO. The article concludes that while the role of a PMO is critical, the project manager still has the main responsibility for project success and can therefore take ownership of its outcome by following a few best practices. These include following a single project management standard, adopting a project management software solution, or fostering a culture of accountability. 

A Chicken and Egg Situation
So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in the context of project management, the project management office (PMO) or the project manager? More specifically, is the PMO responsible for molding successful project managers, or are project managers the ones to be credited for forging effective PMOs and project management practices in an organization? If the latter is true, can project managers therefore survive in organizations without PMOs? What are some best practices they can …

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