Nexus between PMOs and Value


A Nexus between Project Management Offices (PMOs) and the Value of Project Management Performance of Public Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria

Jeff Moses OGBU
Ferryhills Consulting Limited, Suite AS16 Annex A, Metro Plaza
Central Area Abuja, Nigeria


Benedict Amade, PhD
Department of Project Management Technology
Federal University of Technology, P.M.B. 1526 Owerri, Nigeria


This paper specifically explored the Works and Estate Departments (WED) of tertiary institutions as specialized and distinct Project Management Offices (PMOs). The study adopted a field survey and exploratory research design methods of investigation, while a purposive sampling technique was deployed in selecting the population size. The instrument for data collection and measurement were well structured standardized questionnaire in addition to a semi-structured interview, multiple case study, and personal observations used in eliciting responses from four (4) case study organizations/tertiary academic institutions in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. The questionnaires were pre-tested and validated for reliability. The data collected were presented using charts, figures and descriptive statistical tools, while a multi-case analysis was used in analyzing the major issues in the case study organizations with the aid of Nvivo and Microsoft excel. Findings from the study suggest that the case organizations share certain common views on the WED structure and functions which places them as Project Management Offices. The WED is also situated as a PMO from their structures and functions using the PMO descriptive model and PMO functions. The findings further elicit some common themes from the interview transcripts and questionnaire responses that matched the descriptive model and PMO functions such that individual departments follow a traditional organizational structure where the Director is in absolute control. The Director of WED coordinates all projects in collaboration with the unit heads while projects are assigned to staff with the professional competence. Even though the WEDs are not known and addressed as project management office, they are impliedly and made to serve as central clearing houses for all projects in the case organizations. And finally the WED of the case organizations under review are charged with the mandates to provide leadership, guidance and support to all the projects within their organizations and are thus adjudged to be typical PMOs. The results contribute to a better understanding of how a project management office (PMO) creates benefits to organizations.

Key words: project management, project management value, project management offices, organizational performance.


The actual value emanating from investments in project management has been difficult to define and evaluate (Thomas & Mullaly, 2007; Aubry & Hobbs 2010).   It is a universal idea that projects have a great influence in society, but projects are not protected from the vagaries of their socio-political environment (Thomas & Mullaly, 2007;Zhai, Xin, & Cheng, 2009) . Andersen and Vaagaasar (2009) averred that value creation is increasingly been achieved through projects, while organizations are deploying more efforts in improving their project management competencies. Most private sector firms seek profits and returns on their investment, while the public sector agencies are primarily responsible for ensuring that their projects generate benefits to the society without degrading the environment (Sallinen et al., 2011). Public sector organizations are increasingly expecting value from their project management investment, this one the other hand is attributable to the geometric increase in the number of projects they handle annually while the revenue is generated in an arithmetic progression. Crawford and Helm (2009) expressed how governments around the world gave considerable support for project management implementation, with corresponding expectations of measurable value attributable to the project management implementation in the public sector.

Developing and maintaining public governance are through projects and programs investment. Strategy and policy implementations are equally delivered using projects platforms. These projects and programs require allocation of funds; therefore, there is increased demand for ability to achieve outcomes with a more structured, traceable, transparent and accountable processes (Thomas & Mullaly, 2007; Crawford & Helm, 2009). According to Milin, Morača, Radaković, Jašarević and Hadžistević (2012), “PMO is an organizational unit that is established to help project managers, project teams as well as different levels of management in carrying out the principles of project management” (p.213).

Milin et al. (2012) further stated that PMO coordinates and manages all projects in the company and it is engaged in the collection of best practices for project management, selection of methodologies for project management and selection of tools and techniques used in project management.

The definition of PMO brought many organizations into the category, but they are not isolated from the parent organization. The key results from the PMO researches have unveiled a considerable variation between PMOs and their resulting performance and/or values. This variation is made more complex by the location, industry, sector (public/private) where the PMO is implemented. Thomas and Mullaly (2008); expressed the view that it is extremely impossible to calculate any explicit correlation between project management implementation and return on investment (ROI) especially from the public sector point of view. Aubry et al. (2011) strengthened this view by showing that public sector strategic objectives are usually not expressed in terms of profit, but rather in terms of user satisfaction and value for a wide range of stakeholders, including politicians.

The construct of value direction by Thomas and Mullaly (2008) explored the ability of project management implementation to continue to deliver value. It generates insights into the appropriateness and contribution of different forms of project management to organizational performance (Mullaly & Thomas, 2009). Project management is more widely used in most organizations, and its value gradually attracts the interest of organizations. It is been suggested that organizations will happily increase their investment in project management, if they can identify their values in measureable terms (Thomas & Mullaly, 2007;Zhai, Xin, & Cheng, 2009).


To read entire paper, click here



About the Authors

Jeff Moses Ogbu

Abuja, Nigeria


Jeff Moses Ogbu,
is a Prince2 Practitioner and PMP holder, working currently as a Project Management Consultant at Ferryhills Consulting Limited, Abuja, Nigeria with over 12 years progressive experience in the practice of Engineering and Project Management. He holds a PhD in Project Management Technology from Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He has a double M.Sc degrees in Project Management and Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Sunderland and Newcastle University respectively. His research interests focus on Managing Risks in Information Systems Projects, Project Management Office Performance in a Developing Economy, Measuring Values of Project Management investments and Electromagnetic compatibility of computer devices. He has published more than 6 refereed publications including papers that have appeared and accepted in local and international Journals. He is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) and Project Management Institute (PMI), USA. He can be reached on [email protected]


Benedict Amade, PhD

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Nigeria



Benedict Amade is a Project Manager by Profession. He read and obtained a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) Degree in Project Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) U.S.A. and presently lectures in the Department of Project Management Technology of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria for the past 8 years. His areas of research interest include construction project management, computer based project management and construction supply chain management. He has authored over 20 scientific publications in international refereed journals and is actively involved in other consultancy works. He can be reached on mailto:[email protected] or [email protected]