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I cant remember how it came about but thank goodness it did. Sometimes articles that appear in Project disappear without a trace. Sometimes they take off in the most unexpected way.

So it was with a Critical Path piece we published in March. The issue featured a lengthy interview with APM chief executive Andrew Bragg talking about progress on Chartered status.

The story about Chartered should have been the big talking point. After months of speculation and rumours online, this was Andrew and APM breaking their dignified silence on a subject that could possibly prove to be biggest change to the profession in years.

With the PR machine on standby and advance copies sent to everyone with a vested interest, we all held our breath as the issue went to press.

The fallout never came. Instead it was David Shannons piece on PMOs that really got people talking.

David questioned the perceived value of the PMO, even going as far as to suggest that they were staffed by indecisive bureaucrats responsible in part, for diverting key resources from the business of running projects.

The backlash was fierce. We carried a whole series of letters in the April issue, Davids response to these letters in May, and with the next episode is a head-to-head debate in the forthcoming June edition.

The challenge has been trying to keep what has become such a heated debate constructive. Tit-for-tat responses on a letters page had no real long value and there was a danger that things could become personal.

To diffuse the argument without losing the essence of what is a very relevant debate required careful management and cajoling before the two main protagonists finally came face-to-face.

Thankfully, the hard work paid off, and both David and Lain Burgos- Lovece, a senior member of PPSOSIG, a group for support office professionals, welcomed the opportunity to air their views and find some common ground.

Lains view was that PMOs have evolved from a support office belonging to the projects, to a visible, measurable and above all improvable manifestation of the project environment.

He says: An enduring PMO provides the means to improve the project environment in a way that is measurable during good and bad times.

David recognised the value of supporting continuous development but warned: It is no good having excellent portfolio, programme and project oversight, management and support if those who direct initiatives and resources are effectively unaccountable and can misallocate surplus economic rent.

Read the full article in the next issue of Project and let me know what you think

Ive got a feeling that this one is going run and run.


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