Project Management

Who Should Own the Business-Focused 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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the last couple of years, I have felt like I’ve had some company. For the longest time, I felt like a “voice in the wilderness,” advocating for PMOs to become more business focused while most people were focused on improving the ability to consolidate reports or to improve PMO governance. I wasn’t completely alone—people like Mark Price Perry were early advocates for the concept of a PMO focused on the business, but there certainly weren’t many of us.

But now things are changing, and that’s a good thing. It feels as though the idea of a PMO that’s focused on helping a business to deliver success and not just oversee the mechanics of project management is becoming mainstream, perhaps even a trend. Like every trend, that leads to some interesting perspectives on how that should occur. I’m not going to pretend I agree with all of the ideas being proposed, but that’s okay. I’m sure some people don’t agree with my ideas, either.

One thing I think everyone advocating for this shift will agree on though is the importance of influencing the people who own and drive the PMO function. If we’re going to make a real difference to how PMOs operate—and by extension to how they support business success—then it’s the people who set PMO goals and objectives, staff the function, and manage …

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"Only those who have been in the frying pan are really qualified to talk about the heat."

- Winston Churchill