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Topics: PMO
What's in a name?
Recently a client told me that the name of a group -- Program Management Office -- was working against the purposes of the group and she is thinking of changing the name. This group has responsibilities that include budgetary oversite, the creation of cost benefit analysis reports and the maintenance of alignment between the corporation's business plans and the Information Technology function.

I am looking for suggestions for a new name for my client. I've already made a suggestion but am not completely satisfied that I've come up with the most useful term. If you have any suggestions yourself (including comments regarding the importance of the name of a functional group) I'd greatly appreciate reading about it here.

Thanks and warm regards to all of the gantthead readers of the PMO department,

Frank Winters
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Frank,

I'm guessing that she believes the name is too tied to execution of defined work, and that the word "Program" is not generating enough sense of the business role of the group.

The specific responsibilities you mention are clearly highly business related and a major portion of what IT should be doing to be relevant - understanding what types of work needs to get done (the alignment), then understanding what specifically can be sensibly afforded (the cost / benefit analysis), together with tracking that things are going according to financial plan (budgetary oversight). So perhaps some use of one or more of the words "Corporate", "Business", "Financial" in the group name would be what she is looking for.

So, some possibilities to throw out are:

Business Program Office
Business Management Office
Business Alignment Office
Corporate Program Office
Corporate Program Management Office

etc.

For all the above you could replace " Office" with "Center for Excellence".

As to the importance of the naming of a functional group, I believe it can definitely have significance, particularly if the name is being changed and the new name is part of a consistent message being given about a new role. It can be used to help drive home the change. For instance, in one company I really wanted to change the function "Quality Assurance department" to "Project Support department" to get away from the identity of being the corporate police - we had the auditing role down pat and I wanted to promote more support to project teams and project managers. On the other hand, in another company, we wanted to change the name "Project Support Office" to "Quality Assurance Office" to emphasize the importance of audits, which were getting somewhat lost in the general project support role of the PSO.

(Did you really post your message at 4:33 in the morning?)

Regards,
Thanks Mike for your helpful post.

And no I didn't post at 4:33 AM. In addition I have way more than 2 posts on gh!

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