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Precarious Existence of the PMO

25 Nov 2011
Precarious Existence of the PMO

PMOs have been popular since the middle to late 1990s. Yet, somewhat paradoxically, most PMOs in existence today are rather recent creations. The figure below shows the age distribution of PMOs in the sample. More than half the PMOs in existence today were created in the last two years. Two phenomena are at work producing this situation:

  • New PMOs are being created at a relatively high rate
  • PMOs are being shut down or radically reconfigured at a similar rate
  • 17% of PMOs have been in existence for more than five years
  • 54% have been in existence for two years or less
  • PMO’S are frequently closed or restructured, which is consistent with the fact that many are being challenged

Approximately half of the PMO’s in existence see their relevance or very existence questioned. Their often-precarious existence explains their frequent restructuring or demise, which has led to a population dominated by young PMO’s. In this context, a PMO often has only a short time demonstrating its ability to create value before it is restructured or closed down. This frequent restructuring may indicate that organizations are experimenting with PMOs and have not yet found an adequate fit for them in their respective structures. IPM’s PMO Essentials short course is focused on getting you familiar with all the project management office’s parts and enables you to improve it by helping you understand it.

Source: A White Paper Prepared for Project Management Institute by Dr. Brian Hobbs, University of Quebec at Montreal, Quebec, Canada.