Lets look at some core functions of the PMO and how it is dead, and why they will continue to be irrelevant.
1. Major responsibility that I did when in an IBM PMO was review of a bunch of projects. Review of progress is not so useful in the world of constant communication, low planning and high coordination. Primarily because there will always be a delay to this reporting and whatever form of output, will not be fresh or add to current decisions and progress. Only being engaged constantly, in-situ works esp in the complex/emergent and chaotic/novel domains.
2. Second job within the PMO was demand and intake management. As I see today, the central IT departments are so warped in their own cocoon of legacy processes and structures, their client business departments are fortunately free with their own IT budgets and prefer to go independent.
Thus leaving the IT department only with some of the following that are stuck in a different age tenet.
- GRC, ERP, finance, other corporate systems, stuck in the records era
- providing infrastructure that is already commodity, stuck in the pre-cloud era
- or licensing of standard software, stuck in the PC/pre-mobile era
For example take document storage, editing and collaboration, in the age of dropbox and google docs, when all we get within the company is a PC age MS Word to be sent over email or uploaded in a sharepoint, all these were the IT department’s independent decisions. Take connectivity or storage, with at least 2 mobile devices per head that have better connectivity and also employee’s overall personal storage leads the standard enterprise storage with poor connectivity. OK those for another post.
Point I am trying to make is the legacy standard processes have lived their life (and dead now) to be managed from the PMO. Recently I was filling a paper form for deploying a mobile application internally, and I realized this in a worst possible way waiting for some PMO to review this and get back on the request. Surely their demand management processes are outdated and responsibilities have shifted elsewhere which is business itself.
3. When business departments have gone independent, it makes it clear for them to track accountability for their investment not some un-translatable set of IT metrics that the PMO tracks. At least through my career, I have seen so many promotions inside the IT department, because of this lack of clear metrics, that even a failed business outcome project could be a grand success IT project.
If the PMO was to be even marginally useful, only way is actually play/perform, not review/report…