Advantages /Disadvantages of a Consulting PMO or PSO

Posted by Kevin Brady on Mon 11th February 2008 at 07:53 PM, Filed in PMO

For the Pros and Cons of other PMO models please see blogg posts Managing PMO, Facilitative Managing PMO

This PMO model is not about enforcement. It addresses the needs of project management primarily through a consultative /mentoring approach designed to help foster a sense of project management community within a given programme. For a project managers streams working with such a model this would be more of a “pull” rather than a “push” relationship with the PMO team.

“Don’t call us we’ll call you” tongue wink

Viewing this model through the eyes of deploying software vendor the responsibility for the day-to-day management of projects lies with the vendor’s management team and its partnerships with the end client at business unit /divisional level.

A consulting PMO might establish standards in terms of project management processes and procedures and may serve as a centre of expertise, but such PMOs seldom have direct responsibility for individual projects /programmes of work.

On detailed investigation this model delivers a few advantages when compared to the other PMO models:-

  • This model can be implemented into an end-client’s organisation, with the minimum impact on their organisation and the need to change its organisational structures /culture.
  • Can help to reduce the administrative overhead on busy, overstretched project /programme managers through the supplying of PMO staff on request to support project /programme management where necessary.

The disadvantages of this model are quite extensive:-

  • Frequently these types of PMO fail to obtain client buy-in /organisational acceptance, which may cause inconsistent application of project management processes and procedures, leading to the release of poor quality deliverables to end clients. This can cause customer satisfaction issues and arguments with the end-client concerning the value and need for a PMO.
  • Cross dependencies between projects are frequently not managed and controlled, leading to delays and reduced profitability.
  • Risk and Issue management, at best, works at project level with escalation and resolution paths up through the end clients organisation often ill defined, or non-existent, leading to release delays and cost over-runs. This is often caused by an inability to lay off risks /issues with the end client at sponsorship level.
  • The lack of resource management with this model can cause one of two extremes. Projects are either starved of resource, or seem to hoard it, failing to release resource back into the resource-pool for reallocation to alternative accounts /projects. In either scenario this often caused a serious hit to account profitability due to quality issues having to be fixed /compensated for with the end client (discounts etc) or the need to carry excess resource costs going forward.
  • Lack of senior end client sponsorship means that the business change aspects of large scale IT programmes are not always synced and integrated into IT delivery schedules, causing delays for the end client and further profitability erosion for deploying vendor.
  • Attracting and retaining staff to work in a consulting PMO can be a real issue, affecting the quality and capabilities of such PMO’s thus further weakening its creditability and role within the IT delivery organisation. The retention of good staff for consulting PMO’s depends more the awarding large salary increases.
  • Most consulting PMO’s fail to achieve universal best practice adoption. Templates, standards and process never gain transaction with the end-client or managing consultancies own delivery management teams.
  • No financial control or earned value cost management, with time recording used as the only cost control tool. This meant that early identification of potential cost over-runs are not discovered in time to develop cost mitigation strategies.
  • No close relationship between HR (supplier side only) and senior PMO management in terms of tying together PMO QA management review performance to HR performance assessments. This widens the direction and control gap between a programmes deliver management its PMO.
  • Inconsistent management maturity between project /programme managers due to a lack of common and universal training in industry best practices.
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    I like the succinct way you’ve outlined the various PMO models. Very intuitive and effective.

    Posted by Christian  on Thu 4th June 2009 at 07:55 AM | #

    Thanks for the comment Christian. Please keep Clarety in your favorites list because later this year Clarety is being upgraded with lots more on PMO’s i.e tools, templates, news and views.

    Posted by Kevin Brady  on Sat 6th June 2009 at 11:37 AM | #


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