PMO Failures and How to Prevent Them

PMO Failures - Management Square - Project Management Office

PMO Failures and How to Prevent Them

The average life of a PMO is about 4 years and experts around the world are looking for practical ways on how to improve and at the same time prevent a PMO failure. A PMO that performs well is more functional and have a higher chance of becoming mature in a span of within a month or two. But still why PMO failure still exists? Why PMO leaders still end up falling into the same void and making the same mistake? There might be some factors that have been overlooked as to why PMO failures never seem to go away. It’s high time to detect these causes and create an action plan to combat them.

Here are other common reasons why PMO failure is still prominent in the industry today and what you can do to prevent it from happening to your own PMO.


PMO Failures

Low-Value Activities

One of the most common causes of PMO failure is certain activities are not given enough value. And when they do, it’s perceived as low or less of importance.

The trend two years back was that activities such as reporting and managing document templates are considered low value–something that the higher-ups are guilty of doing. This is because the PMO as a whole tends to focus more on administrative tasks.

In other words, your PMO isn’t delivering the right value with these tasks alone.


How to Prevent this PMO failure from Happening to You: Balance. That’s all there is to it. There should be a balance when it comes to maintaining documents and reports. However your PMO should focus more on tasks that the senior managers think would bring value to the entire work system.


No Constant Assessment

Not having constant evaluation can actually affect your PMO in more ways than one. Tracking your PMO’s progress is crucial–this will help you assess what areas need to be improved and what are resources you need to add to your roster. This is why PMO failure manifests within your work system because the managers and team tend to stop evaluating when they think they’re on the right track.


How to Prevent this PMO failure from Happening to You: Don’t stop. Plan a constant assessment as part of your yearly PMO cycle.

Some of the way to do this:

  • Asking a project owner for feedback
  • Asking stakeholders for feedback
  • Getting feedback from clients

The key here is to get as much feedback from the different spectrum and not just within the project alone. You need to get the insight from someone outside. Create a sort of checklist or scorecard so you can see your progress or if you’re making one at all.


A PMO that Doesn’t Align with Strategies

Another struggle to get out of the PMO failure is the difficulty aligning their PMO with strategies. The PMO tends to be out of the loop regarding strategies,thus missing the entire point of why they’re here in the first place.

Below are the actorsthat PMO should work on in their field.

  • Supporting a career path for project management
  • Supporting a cross-functional work
  • Establishing communities that share each other’s knowledge
  • Capacity planning
  • Decision making within the project-level activities
  • Resource management and project prioritization
  • Adapting the PMO to meet the business needs


How to Prevent this PMO failure from Happening to You: Understand the strategy first in order to have a successful alignment. Doing so will give you a clear pathway to fulfilling what the business actually needs.

Talk to your senior managers regarding this so you are sure that you’re aligning your PMO exactly where it’s supposed to be.


Extending Your PMO’s Lifeline

By taking these PMO failures into account, you have more chance to actually extend the life of your PMO. And even if it’s going to be short-lived as it was mentioned above, you’ll get to manage it in a way that activities are valued and resources are not wasted.