ESI International, a large project management training company, released the findings of its latest annual benchmarking survey this month. “The State of the Project Management Office: On the Road to the Next Generation” survey investigates the current role of the Project/Programme Management Office (PMO), its development to full-blown maturity and value for the overall business.
Based on responses from over 3,000 respondents in more than 17 industries on six continents, the research revealed that budgets have been the biggest challenge for PMOs over the last year.
The survey respondents also said that in order to measure success, they relied on the standard definitions of the triple constraint: namely on time, to-budget project delivery. This is one way of defining success, and perhaps one of the easiest to measure but not the most effective (or modern) way of thinking about project success results. Maybe that’s why around 55% of respondents said that the value of their PMO was questioned by key stakeholders.
Why might budget constraints be a top problem?
Here are some reasons why budgets make the top of the list for PMO challenges:
- Budgets are tight – we’re still in very difficult economic times
- PMOs are not traditionally a profit centre – they don’t make any money themselves, although they do facilitate making money through the delivery of projects
- PMO resources are typically expensive, so they need to justify their worth
- PMO core activities like training could be being squeezed by less money available to spend on these activities, giving rise to challenges balancing the department’s books
Like all departments, PMOs are having to come up with new ways to do more with less. Maybe this is just a symptom that all departments are suffering from and is not a specific research finding related to PMOs.
Is budget the top challenge for your PMO in 2012? If not, what is?