The New Face of Project Management: Are Specialized PMOs and Mobile Tech the Future?


By Mike Sicilia

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle


The face of project management is changing. Economic fluctuation, evolving risk, and increasingly stringent regulations are creating new challenges for project managers. To meet these challenges and ensure the success of diverse projects across the enterprise, organizations must consider new and innovative methodologies and approaches that can inject innovation into processes.

Illuminating these realities, Oracle recently brought together a group of business leaders who revealed insight into two evolving areas: the role of project management offices (PMOs) and the increasing real-time reach of mobile technology. The Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Board – a steering group of senior executives, academics, and industry experts that looks at how C-level executives can successfully prioritize and manage the project portfolio – raised questions over the long-term value of PMOs and the way mobile technology can transform project management.

Specialized PMOs for Successful EPPM 

Traditional companies have generally accepted that to visualize and deliver large projects, it is best to have a PMO. However, one of the primary challenges facing many larger organizations is a fundamental disconnect that can emerge between project managers and the rest of the business. The EPPM Board was unanimous in its view that, while PMOs are staffed by professionals who are extremely knowledgeable about their discipline, as a group they tended to lack a detailed understanding of exactly how their organizations made money. Simply stated, they had little visibility into the business fundamentals behind a decision to launch a project. And, with that being the case, they were not always viewed as guarantors of strategic and financial project success.

EPPM Board members indicated that PMOs are more successful in “traditional” companies, such as those working on capital projects. However, in more “agile” companies, such as those operating in software development or new media, the group concluded that PMOs did not perform as well. The collective opinion was that these agile companies may prioritize more rapid technological innovation over rigorous EPPM methodologies.

As such, rather than employing a centralized PMO, the EPPM Board members are asserting that some organizations might be better served by a decentralized approach that places project managers/standardization experts within business units, operating as “specialized” PMOs. This approach enables each business unit to look at the risks and rationale behind a project, make comparisons to similar programs, and make decisions that are the best fit for their particular group. Each specialized PMO team can also ensure each project matches the wider corporate strategy before the primary PMO takes action. 


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About the Author 

pmwj30-Jan2015-Sicilia-PHOTOMike Siciliaflag-usa

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle

Mike Sicilia leads Oracle’s Primavera global business unit, which was formed when Oracle acquired Primavera Systems, Inc. in 2008. The business unit focuses on enterprise project portfolio management solutions for project-intensive industries.

Sicilia was named senior vice president and general manager of the Primavera global business unit in 2011. Prior to joining Oracle, he had been at Primavera Systems since 1993, where he started as a programmer, was promoted to director of technical services in the professional services organization, and eventually was named Chief Technology Officer in 2006.

With experience on both the development and services sides of enterprise project portfolio management solutions, Sicilia has a deep knowledge of the needs of project-intensive organizations and how Primavera products and complementary solutions address those needs.

For information about Oracle Primavera, please contact [email protected].