Jun 18, 2010

Ah, the Bad Old Days ...

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Culture & Change Management, Project Management Office (PMO), Site News | 1 Comment

We've just finished prepping the Second Edition of Kent's award-winning book, The Strategic Project Office, for press. (Look for it to be available this October.) The first edition came out in 2001, but was mostly written and edited in 2000, and it was a big job to incorporate the changes that have taken place over the past decade. Who can remember the world of the PMO a millennium ago? Here are some things that struck me:

  • The terminology has changed. The Project Office is now the PMO, pretty much universally. The addition of the "M" is significant: it focuses our attention on the managerial side of projects, the human and business aspects instead of the technical.
  • You no longer have to explain the difference between managing multiple projects and portfolio management. The concept of the organization as a portfolio of projects is no longer a bleeding edge idea.
  • The chapter describing project management roles had a complete rewrite. Some of the things that were practically unheard of in the last century: PMOs bringing project managers and other roles under their management, and providing their training, performance measurement and professional development. Project manager competency assessments, and competency-based development. Executive roles within the PMO - like CPO, Portfolio Manager, Executive VP for Project Management.
  • The strategic angle. At the first writing, PMOs were almost entirely on the departmental level, and the vast majority of those were in IT. Today, they are all over the map departmentally, from HR to Marketing to R&D. But the majority reside at the strategic level, and the connection between projects and strategy execution has never been stronger.

If anyone is nostalgic for the days when a lonely project manager struggled to get the executive level to listen to her ideas about a project office, I haven't heard about it. Today's PMO - the enterprise-level manager of human capital and strategic initiatives bears about as much resemblance to that old organizational structure as a tomato plant does to a tomato seed. Agreed? -- if not, comment ... but no throwing rotten tomatoes.


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1 Comment on Ah, the Bad Old Days ...

Paul Lombard says:

  In examining the most current data about PMO’s and comparing it against the earlier research done by the CBP I noticed that a big change has occurred in that in the earlier research cost saving was not one of the benefits of having a PMO, but in the new research it IS one of the major benefits. Why do you and the readers of this blog think this has occurred? Is it because of changes in the economy? because of more effective PMO’s? the growth of the practice of Portfolio Management led by the PMO?
  I would be interested in your insights

  Paul Lombard, PMP

Posted on July 6, 2010 at 10:52 am

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