Project Management Offices (PMO’s) & the complexity cliff

Project Management Offices (PMO’s) & the complexity cliff

Project Management Offices, or PMO’s, reflect the organisations they are part of. As each organisation is unique, so is each PMO. Implementing and maintaining a PMO is therefore by default not a standard procedure but should always be done with regards to the organisational context. Recognising this is the first step in running a successful PMO. 

This observation is the first in a 2007 report on a global analysis of the current state of practice of multi-project PMO’s, prepared for the Project Management Institute. Where the actual value of a PMO is a matter subject to discussion in the report, there is consensus on functions where a PMO is important. The top 5 being:

  • Report project status to upper management
  • Develop and implement a standard methodology
  • Monitor and control project performance
  • Develop competency of personnel, including training
  • Implement and operate a project information system.

From our experience, these 5 functions – but actually this applies to most of the 27 functions mentioned – show the solution to the typical pains that organisations these days face. With projects becoming more complex and effective changes needed quicker and more frequent, many organisations fall into what is known as Helmsman’s complexity cliff: complexity has increased beyond capability which results in performance decreasing significantly.

To prevent falling from this complexity cliff, organisations need to improve their project maturity levels. Setting up a PMO is an effective  way to help ensure rising project maturity levels. CUPE Professional Services has set up, run and improved PMO’s for years and is available to help you to step away from this cliff!