The PMO cannot not be considered as a standalone entity. There are strong links between objectives of the PMO and other Management functions outside the PMO. Also, the corporation and/or groups organizational structure, culture, roles, people skills and available tools are a complex mix to manage and predict with certainty.

 

Potential Resistance and New Tensions

A typical risk when implementing a PMO or moving from a Functional or Operations based model to a Project Oriented organization is the potential resistance of managers who held some or part of responsibility in the functions now assigned to the PMO . As in all culture changes, the perception may be that there are losers and winners. Functional Managers that own and organize budgets, employees and their own management processes may be hesitant to transfer responsibilities to Project Managers or the PMO. In particular, the timing, communications and format used in the evolution of the relation between the PMO and Functional / Operations Management is critical when managing potential tensions. Senior Directors should dictate the timing, and should support the PMO when transitioning functions. Likewise, Functional Managers should be re-assured in their responsibilities and areas of collaboration with the PMO. Whatever the desired resulting structure - for example with a PMO focus in Monitoring, and feeding quality project data as in a Dashboard or similar format to Management for Governance decisions- needs to be perceived by all parties as of benefit to their own functions and to the final objective of improved project performance.

 

Cost and Value

The cost and effort of setting a PMO or transformation to Project Oriented organization may be high, so in practice the focus should be in demonstrating real return or value. Parviz (2001) offers a solid and strong argument by comparing developing the PMO to the cost of supporting runaway projects. For a low PM maturity organization, the cost of below acceptable projects would justify this investment, but in practice there may be a a lack of such data.

 

The future vision is about maximizing the value of the PMO and the efficiency of project management. However, how to get there depends on many variables within the organization, and indeed we may change track along the way based on what we learn or clarify along the way, or based on our contrains or context impossitions. 

The PMO should design mechanisms to capture changes in the true needs of the organization. This could be done for example through the steering meetings with senior managers, and through meetings with Project Managers perhaps working as a Community of Practice. In this way and by addressing the real needs of the organization, the PMO can be perceived as delivering meaningful value.

Related posts:

http://www.goodpmo.com/small-pmo-steps-for-success/

http://www.goodpmo.com/design-pmo-to-meet-real-needs/

http://www.goodpmo.com/pm-basics-projects-support/

http://www.goodpmo.com/pm-basics-strategy-support/