Whose PMO is it?

The million dollar or euro question has been“what is a PMO”?  It could be a
Project Management Office, it could be a Program Management Office or even a
Portfolio Management Office.  Before we answer that question, you should know
whose PMO it is .  For decades the industry has focused on People, Process and
Tools.  While these are extremely important, they are only useful to operate a
PMO.  Knowing what a PMOs mission and objective are is even more critical to its
success.  So what does a PMO do?

Let’s look at this a different way, HR and Finance aren’t departments in the
business to entirely dedicated to enforcement of best practices in their
respective industries.  These are supporting departments which support the
mission of the business through their expertise in HR and Finance while also
being the stewards of best practices.  This seems obvious so why isn’t the same
obvious for a PMO?  If you look carefully, it seems appropriate to view the PMO
in the same light.  PMO’s are not entirely dedicated to providing best practices
for how to manage projects, unless that is your business of course.  Instead a
PMO is much like HR and Finance, it is there to support the mission of the
business while applying best industry practices.

PMOs have evolved and it is time we focus on the PMO as a business tool there
to help achieve the mission of the business instead of as an independent
standards body within the IT organization.   It is therefore obvious to me that
the PMO belongs to the business.  Once that is understood and truly believed, it
will amaze you how when a PMO works for the functional business units by
providing support to the mission of the company while enforcing standards how
much more effective and valued the PMO will be.  This is in stark contrast to
those PMOs who deliver service to the business as if they were a separate
business whose job it is to deliver those services.  PMOs who see their work as
a necessary function in producing or delivering whatever product or service your
company produces or delivers will see how much better they are received by the
other business units.

Do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Let me know what you think.

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