Questioning the value of PMOs’ (redux) – you can only manage what you measure…

My article from a couple of weeks ago related to the unfortunate, but common need to validate the existence of PMOs was written before I had the chance to fully read the August 2011 issue of PM Network.  While perusing the last page (Metrics) of the issue, I read an interesting set of metrics reported under the heading “PMOs under pressure” that were extracted from a recent survey conducted by ESI International:

  1. 60% of senior-level project professionals reported their PMO’s value has been questioned
  2. 15% reported that they track ROI and benefits realization
  3. 40% said that their PMO was operating to a fair or poor extent

The first statistic is hardly a revelation – in fact, I was expecting to see a much higher percentage given that most PMOs are funded as cost centers and like any cost center are required to justify their existence.

The second statistic is surprising as it appears to be the opposite of what one would expect given the conclusions one could draw from the first one.  If I know the value of my PMO is likely to be questioned, am I not more likely to want to provide quantitative evidence?  Isn’t one of the best ways to do this to demonstrate ROI or benefits realization from its existence?

Then, one reads the third statistic and all seems clear – the survey group of “3,740 senior-level project and program managers” must have been quite honest as they chose not to paint an unrealistic picture of their PMOs’ capabilities.  If a PMO is incapable of providing empirical objective proof of its value, then it’s no surprise that in almost half the cases it was considered mediocre.

Kudos to PMI for publishing such statistics and for pairing them in the same issue with an article titled “Selling the value of a PMO” which makes frequent mention of the need to provide quantitative data to support a PMO’s continued existence.

As a PMO leader, what are YOU doing to NOT contribute to the second and third statistics?

Categories: Project Management | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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