Creating an Elite PMO: Solving Challenges through Collaboration

SECOND EDITION                                                         

Matthew London

Texas, USA


It’s been said that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Enter: today’s project managers and project management offices (PMO). Individuals and teams alike, however educated and capable can’t always proactively forecast where a project and its team members could run amok. While there’s still no panacea that can resolve all the problems a project may encounter, there are strategies that equip an organization’s PMO to combat them. The strength of these strategies rests in an organization’s human resources—its employees—to create tools, processes and governance procedures to handle evolving threats while also exploiting emerging opportunities. Who composes this team? Ideally three to five people with experience in tool development, business process knowledge and project management.

Each person’s particular knowledge, when managed properly and proactively, can contribute a specific layer of project management insight so that reactive project management becomes a thing of the past.


You may have heard the term “fire fighters”. These people are the resources who resolve issues that arise without warning, the issues that were not foreseen in risk logs or project plans. These resources are hailed for their quick ability to handle urgent priorities and get the projects back on track. The downside is that project managers are often held liable for the problems the firefighters fix. All project managers have been in this situation at some point and it is not a pleasant experience. There is a term for this situation: reactive management.

Read any management article and you will see terms such as “proactive,” “innovative” and “collaborative” to describe approaches for how a project manager can move from reactive management to proactive management. Stakeholders look to the PMO to implement correct governance, processes or tools to assist project managers embracing these traits. Large enterprises must have an elite PMO behind them that brings innovative processes, governance and tools to better enable project managers. While PMOs should create the services for their project managers, often times an alternative approach is needed: resources within the PMO need to be motivated. This is where the PMO Triangle comes in.


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 8th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2014. It is republished here with permission of the author and symposium organizers. For more about the annual UT Dallas PM Symposium, click here.

About the Author

pmwj28-nov2014-London-AUTHOR PHOTOMatthew Londonflag-usa

Texas, USA

Matthew London, MA, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP has over eight years of experience in project and program management. He has managed complex projects and programs for Fortune 500 companies and has experience in multiple industries. Currently, Matthew is a manager at EY; he holds degrees from Dallas Baptist University, Southern Methodist University, and Texas A&M Commerce University. Matthew can be contacted at [email protected].