Project management offices not always worth the risk

Study: Use of PMOs started declining in 2009

Good project management is essential for any IT implementation, but is a project management office really necessary?  Setting up a PMO is a risky business, according to a new study, and it may not be worth the risk, writes Jonathan Feldman in a post at InformationWeek.

Implementing a PMO is expensive in that it increases project overhead, and the risk of it failing is higher than ever, writes Feldman, CIO for Asheville, N.C. If a PMO is not effective in helping achieve the project's business goals--and if it isn't successful in nixing projects that don't align with business goals--then it probably isn't going to improve performance.

The use of PMOs grew from 2007 through 2009 but then started to decline, according to research from The Hackett Group. If a PMO isn't good at managing time, resources, customer expectations and requirements, it may end up encouraging shortcuts that lead to higher support and maintenance costs down the road. In some instances, the IT group performed better following the elimination of the PMO.

Formal project management credentials are no magic bullet either. The Hackett Group found organizations that weren't performing so well, even though their PMOs were filled with employees with certifications from the Project Management Institute. These employees tended to focus on keeping lists of tasks and policing processes, and often didn't have a good grasp of the business or the IT infrastructure.

For more:
- see Jonathan Feldman's post at InformationWeek

Related Articles:
Why you should cultivate project management skills
How Daiwa House completed an ERP project on time
How project quality and costs became afterthoughts