Making PMOs Critical to Business: 5 Imperatives for the Future of PMOs


By Marisa Silva

Portugal and UK


Project Management Offices (PMOs) face an underlying paradox in their raison d’ être. While they exist to meet the needs of the business, if all projects were being successful, in principle, then there would be no need for PMOs. A question thus should be asked: how to make PMOs critical to business? Can projects be successfully delivered and organizations live happy ever after even if no PMO are in place.

This article argues that in order to go beyond a state where the justification for PMOs is bounded by the failure and temporality of projects, PMOs need to raise their profile and position themselves as a sustainable source of value by responding to five key challenges, which are imperatives for their future: alignment, sustainability, agility, foresight, and value.

Because the best way to predict the future is still to create it!

5 Imperatives for the Future of PMOs

  1. The imperative of Alignment

Alignment represents the extent to which projects are in sync with the strategic objectives of the organization and should be a vital criteria for selection of which projects it puts forward. If positioned at the strategic level, PMOs can play a key role in ensuring alignment since they are by nature enablers of alignment at the strategic, operational, and cultural level. PMOs help bridge the chasm between as-is and to-be, today and the future, the company’s vision and the company’s day-to-day, project managers and executives, high-level strategy formulation and strategy in-the-trenches implementation.

Bearing this in mind, PMOs which want to survive in the years to come need to enhance their catalogue of functions and services towards the mission of alignment, starting by develop Portfolio Management capabilities. The PMO’s push for strategic alignment, business case review, or support in the selection and prioritization of the portfolio pipeline ensures that only the projects that are aligned and can deliver business benefits are carried out and that projects which are not aligned and are not worthwhile are stopped. Alignment is what saves your company money and keeps it the right direction. It is the certainty that your organization’s vision is being delivered.


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About the Author


pmwj34-May2015-Silva-PHOTOMarisa Silva


Portugal - small flagUK small flag 2



Marisa Silva is an accomplished Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) professional and trainer with experience gained internationally and cross-industries. Passionate about PPM and Project Management Offices (PMOs), Marisa has developed her career from management consulting and has held positions as PMO Analyst, PMO Manager, PPM consultant, PPM Competency Centre Manager, and Country Manager. Currently she works as PMO Analyst at Oxford University Press.

Marisa holds a BSc. in Management, a specialization in Competitive Intelligence, a PgDip in Foresight, Strategy and Innovation, and is currently a MSc. candidate in Strategic Management of Projects, at University College London (UCL). As a trainer, Marisa delivered over five hundred hours of training in Project Management foundation and advanced courses and PMP preparation courses. She is certified as a PMP, PMD Pro Level 2, PRINCE2, MSP, and P3O professional, as well as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in regards to PPM tools.

Marisa has authored Project Management articles and scientific papers presented and published in international conferences, and is also an active member of the Project Management community and professional bodies. She is an APM PMO SIG Committee member, member of PMI, APM, Founding Member of the IIBA Portugal Chapter, and has served as a volunteer in the PMI Portugal Chapter. Marisa can be contacted at [email protected].