PMOs face pressure to show measurable results

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Setting up a project management office can be a good first step in trying to control budget overruns, deadline overruns and mission creep. In some cases, though, PMOs have become a problem unto themselves, incapable of showing the kind of measurable results business leaders want to see, reports Dennis McCafferty at Baseline magazine.

The failure to adequately support a PMO--not establishing sufficient training, management and processes--is a trend that has cast a shadow over the office, according to project management training firm ESI International. Companies have to do more than just hire project managers if they want to see results that have a positive impact on the business. For starters, they need to realize that hard skills relevant to specific requirements are every bit as important--if not more so--than the necessary soft skills, such as the ability to communicate and manage change.

To prove the value of a PMO, managers are going to have to adopt business metrics, according to J. Leroy Ward, executive vice president at ESI. If the office is to realize agile implementation, the team is going to have to buy into that culture, and that remains a challenge. To make things harder, an over-reliance on outsourcing in recent years has led to a shortage of in-house expertise to keep an eye on quality.

For PMOs, all this adds up to a short shelf life. ESI warns that the lack of resources combined with senior management's high expectations will put a swift end to a lot of PMOs.

For more:
- see Dennis McCafferty's article at Baseline

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