The annual Wellingtone and APM Project Management Office Specific Interest Group State of Project Management survey shows that approximately 85 per cent of project organisations have a project management office (PMO) of one type or another. This is good news, but often project managers are not advocates, a common complaint being: 'They just keep hassling me, asking for project reports!' The same survey also showed that more than 55 per cent of respondents were 'very' or 'somewhat' dissatisfied with the current level of project management maturity in their organisation.
You cannot have it both ways. Project managers cannot be mavericks. Every organisation should define a simple, practical project management methodology, championed and owned by the PMO. When a new project managers joins the organisation, they should be thoroughly 'sheep dipped' in this agreed scalable approach. We don't want every project manager running off and doing their own thing. It might be in your interest as a project manager, but it's certainly not in the interest of the wider organisation. Consistent reporting on a timely basis is not unreasonable. As a project manager, you have to accept that you do need to feed the machine with this information.
What should be driving maturity? What should be driving consistency in methodology and continuous improvement? The PMO. We should all be advocates of the PMO. Of course, yours may not be perfect. I'm sure it could be improved, but you have to get behind it, not stand in the way complaining. The PMO is the best way of championing project management standards, methods, training, tools and the development of a community of practitioners.
PMOs benefit from having depth in project management capability. Consider this as a career route. Come away from day-to-day projects and set standards for your organisation as part of a PMO centre of excellence. Running a project is a challenge. Driving maturity in project management for a department or organisation is also quite a challenge. Time to embrace. Your PMO needs you.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Project journal.