project management office, will it survive?

Will the project management office survive-Does your organisation have a project management office (PMO)? To understand the context of the Project Management Office and the recent changes happening in the domain of project management organizations, it may be a good idea to get a historical context.

A short walk down history

You would not go wrong to postulate that project management has been embedded in the human civilization, ever since the Great Pyramids.

Come closer and we know how the 20th century witnessed successfully, the most complex projects – right from the Mt Everest expedition to the Ascent of the Moon. Not to forget the countless infrastructure projects, some of which never made to the mainstream media. Could they have been a success without project management?

Y2K was the watershed event at the turn of the century that put project management at the centre stage. Post that project management has only grown. According to PM Solution’s State of the Project Management Office 2014 research, 80% of the companies (number rises to 90% in large firms) had a PMO (Project Management Office) compared to just 47% in 2000.

Does this indicate that the project management office has made a place for itself in the new age organizational structure? Seems so.

Project Management office- A Costly Darlings

A noticeable trait of the Project Management office (PMO) is their relatively easy access to the executive management. The Project Management Office would usually be led by a VP level resource who would enjoy direct access to the CEO, Business Owner and at times, the Board.
Despite the strategic skin that the Project Management Office enjoys, they still confront typical organizational challenges of being seen as overheads (cost centres). The correlation to business value is still regarded as an ambiguity.

Have PMOs recognized this? Are they doing more to demonstrate business outcomes that are linked to revenues?

They better.

Here comes the Chief Project Officer

The CIO magazine in its 2016 predictions for Project management talked about the Chief Product Office (CPO). The CPO occupied the top spot among the 5 predictions made by the CIO.

Will the CPO happen immediately? Or will this take a few more years?

The project management discussion tempo is veering towards benefits management wherein there is unequivocal support to business outcomes than the regular project management metrics. Business metrics count. Period.

That focus on business outcomes demands ownership. Thus, the CPO. Ownership may not enough. It would also require commitment from the top management to recognize the business value from this decision.

The Project Management Office  and CPO look relevant to lead the discourse on project management Organizations for a few years to come.

How are you thinking about the Project Management office (PMO) ? Or is your organization one of the leaders that has gone ahead with the CPO?

Now inviting comments.

Dan Smiljanić

Dan is a practitioner of project management and our resident geek. With a background in computer science, Dan is the lead product tester at Binfire. When Dan not writing code, you will probably find him cycling and hiking with friends.

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