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The SQUAD Report, Our Project Management Blog

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transforming the PMO with PMO as a service

Transforming the PMO with PMO as a service

It's time for a change in how we approach the PMO in Corporate America. In another post I commented on Why we need a PMO, and now I'll discuss why the PMO we need is drastically different than the one we are used to.

Year after year we see the results of professional studies indicating PMOs fail with a lifespan lasting only 2-3 years. We also see that projects fail to meet objectives 40%-60% of the time. For those of us who have been in this space for awhile we aren't surprised by these results. Heck, I've lived the life of a PMO Director caught up in the PMO revolving door.

So what are we doing about it? From my perspective we really aren't doing too much. The industry events I attend and colleagues I talk with all seem to be doing what we've always done. Except, This time we're going to do it better. This time the company is going to get it. This time my client will be more receptive. Hogwash, I say!!

The standard functions in a PMO vary from org to org but mostly are comprised of:
  • Governance
  • Methodology
  • Project Management
  • Portfolio Management
  • Budgeting/Cost Management
  • Resource Management
  • Project Performance
  • Performance Reporting
  • Risk & Issue Management
  • Project Management Education & Training
  • PPM Tool Management

I'm sure we could list more but this is a good representative sample of what a PMO may encompass. It's the one stop shop within the organization for all things Project Management. Some organizations are highly successful with Project Management and execution from the PMO. Hats off to them, I wish we all had the same culture, leadership and desire to be successful as they are today. This post isn't for them. Those top 1-5% should maintain the current path they are on and continue to reap the benefits they produce. For the 95-99% of the remaining PMOs it's time for a change!

So, what do we do? Do we abandon the PMO? Do we admit defeat and let Project Management meander aimlessly within the organization? No way, we adapt and innovate with new solutions to meet the challenges of the new world we live in. We live in a Services world. We can look at many other functions which are already following a Services model. Payroll, Infrastructure, Applications to name a few.

If we take the Services concept to the PMO what does that look like? First, let's start with the same standard functions listed above. At THE PMO SQUAD, we've turned this into a selection process. Which one of these functions do you want us to handle, which ones do you want to keep, and what should we abandon?

Perhaps, your organization has solid Portfolio and Governance processes but has struggled mightily with running projects. In the PMO As A Service (PMOaaS) model, it's easy. We run your projects and maybe we also manage your PPM tool. Perhaps you've had good results with projects but are always fighting the Resource and Portfolio problem. With PMOaaS we handle your Portfolio and Resources.

This is especially an attractive option for small and mid-sized companies which can't afford the costs of a full blown PMO. PMOaaS can provide a methodology which fits your organization and run your projects. You aren't stuck with PMs which need to be paid, trained, and evaluated. Just as you've handed your servers over to one of the many data centers out there because your core competency isn't server administration, you would hand over the PMO functions and focus your attention where you make your profits.

I know I'm tired of reading the same results year after year. I'm tired of defending the need of Project Management and PMOs without challenging the norms which are putting us in this place. Project Management and PMOs provide a service to our organizations. How we treat that service needs to change. We need to transform from a traditional PMO to the new Service World. PMO As A Service is here to stay and THE PMO SQUAD is proud to be leading the charge!.