As project management professionals and organizations accumulate more experience, they encounter additional challenges when trying to scale up their processes and technologies. In light of this, some experts stress the importance of having dedicated Project Management Offices (PMOs). However, quantifying the value generated by PMOs can be challenging, which has led some senior executives to consider phasing out existing PMOs. So, who is in the right?
Here are some potential trends in PMO and project management:
1. Decreasing Number of Project Management Offices
2. Decentralized Project Management
3. Growing Reliance on Outsourcing
The Decline of Traditional PMOs
Despite substantial evidence supporting the need for PMOs and their benefits in aligning organizational strategy and execution, many real-world PMOs struggle to deliver value. This often happens because these PMOs are hastily established without effective change management, relying on incomplete methodologies and standardized tools. Without senior management alignment on the PMO’s purpose, organizations end up with a disjointed mishmash of processes and operations that yield no tangible results.
When organizations attempt to create a PMO, the most common and significant issue is the lack of project management expertise, experience, and maturity. Senior executives often view PMOs as enigmatic entities that are expected to magically deliver project results. Their expectations are dashed by the lack of meaningful progress and only marginal improvements in success rates. They may not understand the significance of organizational structure and its impact on project management.
Failed PMO implementations tend to focus solely on project management methods and tools, disregarding the importance of organizational alignment. It is essential to establish strong alignment and receive adequate support to bridge the gap between corporate strategy and project execution.
In general, poor PMO performance frustrates many organizations. Previous negative experiences with PMOs have damaged their credibility. It’s crucial to address these Frequently Asked Questions before launching a PMO.
Presently, project managers face the challenging task of reevaluating PMOs and realigning them with corporate strategy, as PMOs need to demonstrate their value to skeptical business executives.
The key point is that PMOs are under increasing scrutiny by executives, and we anticipate a continuing decline in the number of PMOs, leading to a new trend of decentralization and outsourcing.
Decentralization of Project Management
Since project management is an interdisciplinary approach to managing temporary endeavors, PMOs should offer consistent guidance at the operational level on how to properly initiate a project, plan it in detail, support its execution, monitor and control it throughout its life cycle, and formally close the project.