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PMO positioning – Is the current state good enough?

So, what do PMOs do anyway? Since PMOs have been around for years, it seems like this would be a simple question.  However, as recently as 2012 the Project Management Institute (PMI) found that there was considerable confusion among executives, managers, and even project/program managers around reporting relationships, functions and types of PMOs.  To help address the confusion, PMI initiated a study and published the results in late 2013.    Following is a link to the study:

http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Publications/PMI_Pulse_PMO-Frameworks.ashx

The study identified five PMO frameworks:

  1. Organizational Unit, Business Unit, or Department PMO
  2. Project-Specific PMO
  3. Project Support/Services/Control PMO
  4. Enterprise/Organization-wide/Strategic/Corporate/Portfolio/Global PMO
  5. Center of Excellence/Center of Competency

The study identified “PMO domains of work” that included:

  • Standards, Methodologies and Processes
  • Project/Program Delivery Management
  • Portfolio Management
  • Talent Management
  • Governance and Performance Management
  • Organizational Change Management
  • Administration and Support
  • Knowledge Management
  • Strategic planning

The report goes on to analyze PMO survey results against multiple criteria, of which a couple of points are worth noting.  While the PMOs self-reported good results for the typical PM measures of goals, time and budget, they were less sanguine about their leadership in strategy formulation and project alignment with strategic objectives.

So, back to the original question, “what do PMOs do?”  This report seems to reinforce the perception that PMOs are focused on administrative and tactical outcomes but are not positioned to drive strategic business results.  Is the current state good enough?  Or does this report identify a growth opportunity for PMOs?

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