Project Managers face growing responsibility, declining budgets

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Regional project managers are facing growing responsibility, but overall budgets are declining.

Lack of investment in people is specifically highlighted — while ‘added value’ from projects or programmes are undisputed in the boardroom.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
A recent White Paper discusses the evolving role of the Project/Program Management Office. ESI International

ESI International, the world’s leading project management training company, released the findings of its third annual international benchmarking White Paper, The Global State of the PMO: An Analysis for 2013.

The annual survey seeks to investigate the evolving role of the Project/Program Management Office (PMO) in training and development, its level of maturity and value for the overall business. The international survey was compiled with a total of 2,300 respondents from all over the world including well over a hundred participants from the Middle East region.

It is a common misperception that project teams are only related or concerned with IT, energy and those involved in the construction sector. However, the PMO now plays a vital role offering strategic, tactical or operational guidance in day-to-day business through its involvement in project and programme delivery, whether it is for internal or external purposes.

“The results of this important work confirm what I have been thinking for a while that PMOs need to get aggressive in demonstrating value early and often.” — Jim Johnson, Chairman, The Standish Group, speaking at ESI’s Center of Excellence Event recently held in London, UK

This includes agreeing specific milestones and reporting procedures at the beginning to continuously deliver progress reports to the organization.

Key findings of the White Paper:

  • Significant drop in soft skills training: only 30 percent* said their PMO provided soft skills training in 2013 compared to 41 percent in 2012
  • More PMO effectiveness measurement: 68 percent* claimed the PMO reported on its own effectiveness in 2013, compared to only 54 percent in 2012
  • Fewer PMOs Challenged: only 37 percent* stated their PMO was challenged in 2013 compared to 56 percent in 2012
  • PMO as career-crucial body: 75 percent of so-called “active” PMOs that engaged in learning sustainment and training impact measurement also create a structured career pathway for project managers
  • More Strategic: 22 percent of all PMOs operate at the strategic level
  • Project Success: 56 percent of active PMOs claimed more than 75 percent of on-time, to-budget project delivery
  • The Agile Question: Only 9 percent of those surveyed said they use Agile on more than half of their projects.

 

“Learning sustainment and the effort to measure the impact of training on workplace performance are key indicators of PMO health. The more engaged the PMO is in paving a career path for project management professionals, the more value it is perceived to have.”  — ESI Executive Vice President J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP

 

In conclusion, the report summarised the current state of PMO and the way forward.

While PMO training activity is down across the board, those strategic PMO’s that have shown a dedication to project professionals’ career paths by measuring overall training impact and sustained learning activities were viewed as most mature and valuable to the organisation. They also reported the highest project success rate.

Ultimately, the PMO’s success is reliant on understanding customer needs and how to meet them while offering clear and measurable results, such as projects meeting time/cost/scope targets and delivering measurable benefits to businesses and stakeholders. The PMO maturation process requires the ability to meet new needs as they arise, raise its level of service to meet new demands, and provide new services as required.

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