Project Management

Keeping the PMO Relevant, Vibrant and Successful

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Not all PMOs are thriving and successful, but you probably know that. What you might not know is that:

  • PMOs declined by 30% in recent years.
  • The value to the organization of 72% of PMOs is a concern for senior management.
  • Half of PMOs falter or fail within the first three years.

At least, that is what studies and surveys by organizations like KPMG, McKinsey and Gartner claim.

Although these statistics are depressing and disappointing, I am finding light at the end of the tunnel based on my experiences with PMO organizations over the past few years. I have even had the good fortune to help salvage a few PMOs that did not meet management’s expectations.

Of course, anyone who knows me is not surprised that I began these salvage assignments with an expectations alignment GAP analysis. For me, it wasn’t about finding fault, but clearly defining the expectation gaps and then defining what changes would need to occur to achieve alignment.

A GAP analysis is an excellent tool for facilitating groups of stakeholders to develop a consensus on PMO alignment pain points and create a clear and measurable set of alignment improvement objectives.

Along the way, I discovered some common situations, policies and practices that indicated a misaligned PMO and needed improvements. The good news is that I only found one PMO that was beyond recovery, but that …

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"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother."

- Albert Einstein