Archive for 2010/02/09

The purpose of a PMO

No, we don’t have a PMO on TUI Nordic, not according to the general definition anyway. But we have a central team of project managers. This is not the first time in my career that I’ve been part of a team which consisted of other project managers, but that has been more of an organizational thing – we’ve shared the same boss and gone to the same group meetings.

When I read about the definition of a PMO I see a lot of words about standardized processes and templates. In other words making the choice of the individual project manager less important. It’s like the borgs in Star Trek The Next Generation:

Resistance is futile. Your cultural distinctiveness will adapt to serve us.

Wow. Doesn’t sound like the best day of my life. But there is another part of the borg which IS of interest to me:

We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.

Now were talking! We’re talking sharing learnings. Everyone that work with agile values know the importance of retrospectives and adapting. But if the retrospectives are kept within the project, well the team might flourish but chances are that the same problems arise in another project, especially if the projects don’t share resources.

In our project manager’s team, we spend a lot learning from each other. We share happy stories and not so happy stories. With the purpose of evolving ourselves and upcoming projects. I can use learnings from another project in my current project.



This shouldn’t be something magic and sharing knowledge is hopefully part of many project manager teams out there. But what is core here is that this is the purpose of our team – learning is our core value and not just a bullet on the agenda. After almost every discussion point we add – what can we learn from this?

When I read the Wikipedia article on PMO’s I don’t see a single word about evolution and learnings but I think that this should be the main purpose of a successful PMO which does not only serve project manager’s longing for standards and processes but are there to make projects successful.

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