There is a pretty interesting article at CIO Insight about Reinventing the PMO (read the article here). The general premise is that PMOs are good at delivering projects, but not so good at ensuring the project/product is actually what the business needs. Their recommendation – a Results Management Office (RMO). My response…. you’ve got to be kidding. This is insanity at best.
I just got through teaching a project management class over at CSUS. There are several areas I hit hard, and this is one of them. The course follows the basic PMI methodology… you know… Initiation, Planning, Execution & Control, and Closing. I add two bookends, Project Selection and Learning.
I always ask my students, is it the Project Manager’s (PM) responsibility to ensure the project makes sense? The response varies. My point…
If the project is not selected properly, the rest of what you do doesn’t matter.
The question is a fair one. Who is responsible for selecting the right projects at an organizational level? In my presentation The Curse of Project Management, I state that too much emphasis is focused on the project management team when it comes to project viability. Project selection should not be happening at the PM level and it if the organization is expecting the PM to ensure that the project fits the organization’s needs, it is in deep trouble. However, I do strongly believe that it is the PM’s responsibility to ask this question, and when in doubt, it should be elevated to an appropriate level.
Project selection starts with a clear vision and mission. This is set by the owner, President or CEO. If this is not clear… nothing else matters. If a clear vision exists, a viable project selection process needs to be established. I’m not talking about Portfolio Management. What needs to happen is the C-Suite, the Executive Team, needs to get its act together. Silos need to be broken down. Clear organizational objectives need to be established in a hard hitting, to the point, strategic plan. Too many times the Executive Team does a poor job of setting clear objectives for the rest of the organization, AND, leading them in accomplishing them.
I don’t think another bureaucratic layer called the RMO is going to solve the problem. It is only going to enter into conflict with the PMO, increase costs and muddy the water. The real problem with poor project selection lies with the leadership at the executive level. Let’s stop dancing around this problem and call it what it is.
Don’t establish an RMO…. when it comes to project selection and viability, invest some time in developing the Executive Team.
All the best!
All the time!
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- Pmo 101 (slideshare.net)
- New PMO (Project Management Office) Design and Implementation Course from Prodevia Learning and Lisa DiTullio & Associates (eon.businesswire.com)