Yesterday I came across an interesting article from PRNewswire. It seems that according to ChiefProjectOfficer.com that more and more corporations are employing and utilizing Project Management Offices.
For those of you new to this, a Project Management Office (or PMO) is generally a one stop shop where all of the information from individual Project Managers report up the chain of command. Therefore, the theory is that a PMO can monitor all projects within a given functional unit (division, department, etc) and not only track progress, but recommend courses of action, see cross-project similarities, determine “best practices”, and a variety of other things.
In order to create a PMO, an organization must devote a large amount of capital. Unless specifically designed, these people are generally one or more levels above the project and do not have authority over the tasking, resources, and specifics of each project. Therefore, they are overhead not directly contributing to the bottom line. While finding cross-project similarities and determining “Best Practices” may provide a long term investment and work well for large enterprises, this may not provide enough of a benefit for Small-Medium Enterprises where the project revenue is smaller, the project budget is smaller, and shoe-stringing or BootStrapping a project is common. Though with some simple forethought and analysis and management of tasks and dependencies, even SME's can benefit from the concepts of a PMO without having one.
Therefore, while this long-term outlook is absolutely necessary in all businesses, the SME must go about it it a completely different way. This can happen by a simple single path for projects, a project manager monitoring tasks closely, or a group of project managers meeting and discussing concerns on a regular basis.
This simply boils down to the sharing of information. Stop building fortresses and start building networks.