Are PMOs the only way to go?

PMOs are a great place to work, as they help you to gain valuable experience on a variety of projects and learn best practices. But are they really the most effective means to an end?

I wrote an article in my PMcrunch.com blog entitled "Why is a PMO needed?" It is important for you, as a practicing professional, to have the perspective on where project management is going in organizations, as it directly effects your career.

The bottom line is that organizations need to:

  • Control projects tightly
  • Have the information at various levels int he organization to know what's going on with the projects
  • Share information and best practices across projects
  • Choose the right projects

As a practicing professional, you can help any organization with one of more of those things.

So, the question of whether a PMO is the best place to be can best be answered by thinking about what you will be doing within the PMO. Ultimately, you may want to gain experience at the following:

  • Managing projects, with direct performance responsibility
  • Portfolio management, where you get involved with deciding on which projects
  • Project management best practices

The bottom line is that PMOs have a complex task, and it is uncertain what role they will have in the future. There is one thing that must be in place in order to even begin to execute: well-defined and measurable projects. With good definitions in place, projects have the possibility of being controlled well, and there will be value in sharing information about best practices, and organizations will be in a much better position to choose the right projects chosen. If PMOs are needed in the long run to do those things, then they will survive, and otherwise they will have outlived their usefulness.