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Topics: Benefits Realization, PMO, Strategy
Why do so many PMO's fail to deliver value?
Based on the author’s experience the constraints and challenges faced by many organisations today include:

Lack of focus – too many programmes and projects with many not adding value;
Insufficient project management and technical skills and capabilities;
Governance and project management disciplines and processes not well developed, not adhered to and not streamlined ;
Functional (hierarchical) rather than matrix (cross departmental) based project organisations; likewise passive rather than directional PMOs
Lack of understanding that corporate culture is as important a success factor as strategy;
EPMOs still remaining in early stages of development but the opportunity exists for them to manage major transformational change and reap significant corporate benefits.
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Iain,
My experience is because they do not understand how to continually develop their value.

Most PMOs are created to solve a specific problem for a specific sponsor. This is their initial value. Mostly the need comes from a crisis, and the sponsor needs to show action.

Once the action has results, the sponsor looses interest. The main value is delivered, additional action provides at best only marginal additional value.
And the PMO dies off, typically after 2-3 years.

From the beginning, in parallel to solving the initial problem, the PMO needs to find other kinds of problems and opportunities to create value, maybe other sponsors. Or just accept its there for a limited time.

Benefits management can help, running the PMO as a program and a loop in looking for new benefits.
Dear Ian
Interesting your question

Thanks for sharing

In my opinion it makes no sense to have PMO's.

The important thing for me is that there are assets in the organizational processes (Governance) related to projects and that project managers follow these rules in the management of their projects.

This week, here in our community, there is an interesting article on this topic

https://www.projectmanagement.com/articles...Survival-Guide-
Because they do not define value. To define value, client must be defined first. So, when you go to them and ask for that they do not know what to answer. I was involved in lot of projects to help organizatins to create one from zero but mutch more to help organizations to fix it before to close the PMO.
Perception is reality.

Even if a PMO is delivering value, if it is not perceived as doing so by influential stakeholders, it could be marginalized or even shut down.

Kiron
Kiron,
yes.

I see value as something linked to a specific stakeholder. No stakeholder - no value.

Creating value implies to understand who the relevant stakeholders are. If you miss this - as you say - you will not create the value that ensures your survival.

The other thought is, why should a PMO survive?
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Feb 10, 2020 8:43 AM
Kiron Bondale
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If a PMO no longer adds value (over and above its run costs) or has not evolved to stay ahead (not lag behind) the business, it doesn't deserve to persist.

Kiron
9 out of 10 times when somebody or something does not deliver value it is because value is not understood. Let's take a step back to the project itself. Many projects fail not because of the approach they follow but because success is not measured in terms of value but in terms of scope. Most PMO's focus on enforcing governance while losing focus of the fact that this governance must be tied to value.
Feb 09, 2020 4:12 PM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
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Kiron,
yes.

I see value as something linked to a specific stakeholder. No stakeholder - no value.

Creating value implies to understand who the relevant stakeholders are. If you miss this - as you say - you will not create the value that ensures your survival.

The other thought is, why should a PMO survive?
If a PMO no longer adds value (over and above its run costs) or has not evolved to stay ahead (not lag behind) the business, it doesn't deserve to persist.

Kiron
Sergio is 100% correct. As an individual within a PMO, the organization at large has no metrics to measure the added value we bring. If that is not clear from the get go as far as benefits realization, then the chances of success are almost non-existent.
C-level management most often believe that the PMO‘s primary function is consolidated reporting and template creation. This viewpoint often results in the senior manager providing little support to the PMO to perform its duties.
The question has to be asked - value to whom?
In my mind a PMO is composed of various project stakeholders with each stakeholder having a concept of what value means to them. Essentially, if a stakeholder doesn't get everything it wants out of a project the project has only achieved partial if any value - to them.
The value the PMO brings to the project is to somehow integrate the needs of each stakeholder and ensure that all are satisfied with the results (recognize the value of the initiative). Using the row boat analogy, everyone's effort must be focused so as to end up at the agreed destination. Failure to achieve value is usually due to a failure to agree to the destination - random path in the middle of the lake.

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