CA recently published results of their survey on the value of the Project Management Office.  The study contained some very interesting results.

The survey, conducted by Pole to Pole Communications on behalf of CA, was conducted during November and December 2008.  The respondents numbered 249 from 14 different European countries:  Austria, Benelux, The Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the UAE, and the UK.

Here are some highlights of the survey: 

  • The PMO is gaining increased responsibility, influence and acceptance within the business as a strategic enabler of business change
  • Organizations with a centrally managed PMO experience perceive it as a strategic asset when it comes to business decision-making
  • Using the Gartner PPM Maturity Model1 as a guide, the survey found that companies with a centrally managed PMO display a consistently higher level of PPM maturity in terms of people, PPM processes, technology, and financial management. A more mature and sophisticated PPM discipline helps those organizations derive business value from their investments more quickly
  • Most organizations lack a single system of record (a centrally managed PPM system). Instead they rely on spreadsheets, Microsoft Project plans and disparate siloed systems, resulting in significant efforts to produce regular reports and differing views on the status of project commitments
  • Respondents with a centrally managed PPM system perceive themselves as more valued and accepted by their business customers. This helps streamline and enhance project execution while simultaneously delivering greater value from IT investments
  • The value of the PMO is measured in terms of basic cost control, resource utilization and optimization.  Respondents do not currently see the need to measure project success in terms of ROI and benefits delivered
  • Using the four dimensions of Gartner’s PPM Maturity Model (see over) as a guide, the majority of respondents gave themselves low maturity ratings based on the four dimensions (People, PPM Processes, Technology, and Financial Management)


In terms of some cold-hard percentages:

  • 45% of respondents stated that they have a centralized PMO in place in their organization
  • In contrast, 27% responded that they either had multiple PMOs reporting to different functions within the business or that they had no PMO function
  • 86% of organizations that have a centralized PMO view it as a strategic asset when it comes to business decision-making
  • Almost three quarters (72%) of organizations with a centrally managed PMO ‘feel valued’ within their organization
  • 28% of respondents stated that their PMO was deployed more than 5 years ago; 5% have had a PMO in place for 4 years; 8% for 3 years; 36% have used a PMO for 1-2 years
  • 43% stated their PMO comprised between 1-3 staff; 33% have 4-7 staff; and 25% reported having more than 7 people in their PMO
  • 20% operate a centrally managed PPM solution; 17% utilize spreadsheets; 12% use a home-grown PM system; and 21% utilize MS Project

I find the numbers interesting, but not surprising.  It still seems that most organizations are not far along in the maturity process for their PMO.  In my personal experience, it seems that some organizations never get it right and keep trying to re-invent the PMO.  One organization I worked for in the late 90’s and early 2000’s is on their third iteration of a Project Management Office.  They form, dismantle, do something different, and then re-create the PMO all over again.

This survey is very interesting and I again encourage you to read the full report.