Choosing a path to take

The Project Management Office (PMO) has consistently proven itself to be a career crucial body for project managers (PMs), ESI’s survey on the global state of the PMO has found.

In terms of on-time, to-budget and within-scope project delivery, the success rate of those organisations with PMOs that provide career development far exceeds those without.

Developing PMs by organising their training and setting career objectives leads to higher reputation levels in PMOs, as we show in the following three ways:

1. Investment + Progression = Trust

A PM is much more likely to be open and honest with their PMO about delays or cost overruns when they feel valued and invested in.

This is because by organising and facilitating a career path for its PMs, the PMO builds a strong foundation of trust.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer make this point in their book The Progress Principe, writing how a positive inner work life contributes more to productivity than external rewards. This is because people who feel that they are making progress towards a clearly defined career goal work harder and feel better about doing it.

2. Trust + Success = Reputation

Gaining trust, and therefore achieving higher success rates, can only be achieved when the PMO sets the training and career-development agenda and sustains it.

However, not all PMOs are responsible for the training and development needs of their team.

Only the so-called active ones that engage in workplace performance measurement activities show the highest level of involvement in setting career-paving objectives for its PMs.

In our survey, three out of four active PMOs were reported as providing a structured career path for project managers.

It is no wonder then that these PMOs were also viewed as the most valuable.

This reinforces the fact that building trust and progression can not only have a lasting impact on workplace performance and success, but also on a PMO’s reputation at large.

3. Reputation + Performance = Value

The small matter of reputation can also be linked to that of scope.

ESI’s survey reveals that the majority of PMOs had either a departmental or enterprise-wide scope.

(Scope is determined by how wide-reaching a PMO’s actions are within an organisation, identified by Hobbs and Aubry in the following ways: the project-program, which is directed at just one project; the department PMO, which covers an area department or business unit; and the enterprise PMO, which covers the organisation as a whole.)

This can be simplified into the categories of operational, tactical and strategic.

Without going into too much further detail, it is a strategic PMO that is involved in training and learning reinforcement.

And as we discussed in a previous blog on visibility, it is the strategic PMO that also has the most perceived value.

On the right path

The strategic PMOs with an enterprise-wide scope and an active engagement in career development have more maturity and therefore command the most respect.

This goes a long way when ensuring effective project delivery – as well as for the PMs who want to ensure they are on the right career path.