Apr 30, 2014

Benchmark Study Shows Project Management Offices (PMOs) Continue to Expand Their Influence and Become Strategic Resources for Firms

High-performing PMOs improved the alignment of the firm’s projects with its strategy by 53%

GLEN MILLS, Pa. (April 30, 2014) — Already prevalent in most organizations today, project and program management offices (PMOs) are now becoming strategic entities, adding ever more value to their firms. According to PM Solutions’ bi-annual benchmark study “The State of the PMO 2014,” three quarters of high-performing PMOs participate in their organization’s strategic planning, and help to improve the alignment of their organizations’ projects with their strategies and objectives by a whopping 53%.

Earlier this year, PM Solutions surveyed 432 high-level project management personnel from organizations of all sizes in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, technical, finance and government. The primary purpose of the study was to understand PMO trends regarding functions, staffing and development, and capabilities that positively impact organizational performance.

What distinguishes PMOs in high-performing organizations? Three quarters of them report to the highest levels of executive management. They address the issues that matter most to these executives, including alignment with business objectives and effective prioritization of projects. They’re nearly twice as likely to engage in portfolio management functions. And they’re more than twice as likely to practice resource optimization functions. They also engage in more training activities.



“Companies continue to demand more of their PMOs, which are responding with an increased focus on delivering value,” said J. Kent Crawford, PMP, CEO of PM Solutions and author of The Strategic Project Office and An Inside Look at High-Performing PMOs. “And PMOs are addressing value by honing in on strategy, innovation and aligning the business for success.”
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The full report, now available at www.pmsolutions.com/research, identifies six key predictions on the future of the PMO, based on current trends:
•  PMOs will morph into what we call “the disruptive PMO.” With organizations demanding increasing value, PMOs will need to focus more and more on strategy, innovation, agility, and stakeholder engagement. And, in particular, developing expertise in organizational change management will be essential to their success.
• PMO leaders will continue to build better relationships with executive management by refining the value proposition of the PMO and demonstrating strategic business results.
• PM training will remain steady, with PMOs continuing their focus on project management basics but offering more advanced leadership and business alignment training.
• More and more PMOs will add portfolio management functions to their arsenal of practices, participating actively in their organization’s strategic initiatives, not only in their delivery but in their planning as well.
• The percentage of project managers who report to the PMO will continue to increase, leading to a more consistent and effective application of project and program management best practices.
•  PMOs will continue to address resource management challenges, which have plagued PMOs since we’ve been researching them.

Additional findings suggest exciting growth opportunities for PMOs as they continue to expand their influence and be strategic resources for firms. The State of the PMO 2014 shows that PMOs in high-performing organizations are trusted with high-value, strategic responsibilities: 77% participate in strategic planning, and 87% focus on aligning projects with strategic objectives. They’re active in portfolio management: 54% of them engage in portfolio management strategy formulation compared to only 17% of PMOs in low-performing organizations.

“PMOs continue to rise in organizational influence,” notes Crawford. “The question PMO leaders should be asking themselves is: What do we focus on next to continue delivering value?”

About PM Solutions
For nearly 20 years, PM Solutions has been helping clients drive business value through improved project management capability. Comprehensive offerings provided by PM Solutions include PPM process improvement, PMO transformation, program and project management resources, and corporate training and competency development delivered through its training division, PM College® (www.pmcollege.com). PM Solutions serves a diverse client base that includes some of the world’s leading organizations in industries such as manufacturing, IT, energy, insurance and financial services. For more information, visit www.pmsolutions.com.


Editors’ Note: All graphs and charts contained within the ‘The State of the PMO 2014’ research report can be provided separately for sidebar use upon request.