#PMChat: Divorcing the PMO

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The changing world of the project management industry has seen a split in a number of different areas; seen plainly by the growing number of Association for Project Management Specific Interest Groups. At PMO SIG we believe it is important to explore this brave new world and have been investigating whether the divorcing of PMO and some of its key functions to develop new industries is diluting expertise in a world where project people do not need to be subject matter experts; or whether it is instead creating a healthy competition in the industry.

Is it good to divorce key functions of the traditional PMO role in the wider sense of the word in order to provide some key focus to those areas? Or is it causing a dilution of the role of the PMO in the future?

We can see the difference in the different groups that exist across associations. A Knowledge Management group may work to develop an industry in its own right, but sometimes there is a reluctance to acknowledge lessons learned as a legitimate part of knowledge management. So what does this mean for PMOs? Do PMOs get left with the ‘stuff’ that no one wants to deal with because it’s not big or sexy?

The fact that PMO is different in every organisation means that we cannot tie you or ourselves down to a ‘type’ of PMO, but the PMO potentially touches all of the aforementioned disciplines and more.

With that in mind, should the industry not be encouraging that specific groups work with PMO groups as standard? If not, organisations will end up with a number of teams across project controls, assurance, benefits realisation, and knowledge management? With that in mind is the PMO supposed to bring those together in their role as integrators, or do they all work in their own way?

If the latter, the PMO would surely not have any authority prescribed over these other enabling departments, so would we not just end up where we were? With organisational teams working in their silos, working alone, in their own way, creating waste, and reporting different information?

The PMO has been the catalyst for a lot of sub-disciplines. PMOs have grown now in scope and remit to include training and development in some organisations. So maybe we have reached a critical mass of greatness, and it’s time to let disciplines do their own thing. I don’t know any PMO that can afford to delegate any of the topics mentioned above – if we do, the ‘one version of the truth’ view of change in an organisation suddenly disappears because nothing is connected. We go back in time.

Wouldn’t that be a shame...

What are your thoughts on this topic?


Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton

Posted by Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton on 24th Jul 2017

About the Author

A Project, Programme and Portfolio specialist with extensive experience in the change management industry with a particular focus on collaboration, PMO conception & strategy, method and capability development.

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