Project Management OfficeRisk Management

Steer Clear of PMO Risks

Project management offices (PMOs) are founded under good intentions, but we all know that phrase about roads and good intentions. A blog post over at the ever reliable PM Hut cites three wrong turns PMOs take on the path to success:

  1. Executive management not fully committing
  2. Hiring consultants to make up for lack of internal experience
  3. Trying to do too much too soon

PMOs are devised to implement processes that maximize a project’s chance for success, but when there is a lack of governance in the PMO itself, little can be expected to actually improve. The PMO just becomes another source of squandered resources when PMO members have limited decision-making ability. Since organizations do not want to take their best managers off of projects to run the PMO, they insert senior inexperienced staff who must in turn hire consultants to help them. The problem is that consultants do not have a clear idea of organizational goals, and the whole point of a PMO should be to ensure all projects are running according to organizational goals in the first place. PMOs must be built one step at a time, evolving gradually and naturally. Just like you can tell the difference between a grown adult and a little girl playing with makeup, you can tell the difference between a real PMO and a house of cards.

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