Project Management

We Need to Get Past the IT-centric 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.

I still see a lot of PMOs reporting in to IT leadership. Sometimes that’s the CIO, sometimes it’s one or two tiers down the leadership chain, but it’s a common model.

I also still see a lot of supposed experts on PMOs talking about how to work with the CIO or similar technology leader in order to create and implement a PMO model that works.

Well, as far as I’m concerned, very few of these IT-aligned PMOs are ever going to work (on their own) because they will always have a fundamental flaw that will be an insurmountable barrier—they report into the IT organization.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that IT should have a PMO in many situations, but it shouldn’t have the PMO if there is only one in the organization. That has always been a questionable model, and today it’s almost guaranteed failure. Strong words? Perhaps…but let me explain.

The purpose of PMOs
Let’s start with the assumption that a PMO, just like any other function, has to deliver value to the business. That’s always been broadly accepted.

The problem is that there has been confusion and disagreement over how that value is achieved, or even the types of value required.

Now, let’s also assume that if there is only one PMO for the entire organization, that PMO must focus on the delivery of value at that organizational…

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