Project management offices have entered a breakout phase in terms of maturity and, consequently, overall value to the organization. According to a benchmark study from project management firm PM Solutions on the “State of the PMO 2010,” PMOs decreased failed projects by 31 percent, delivered 30 percent of projects under budget, demonstrated a 21 percent improvement in productivity, delivered 19 percent of projects ahead of schedule and saved companies an average of $567,000 per project.

PM Solutions surveyed 291 high-level project management employees from large, midsized and small organizations in various industries including manufacturing, health care, technology, finance and government.

The study revealed that for the first time the value of the PMO is no longer in question. Eighty-three percent of research respondents report that the value added by the PMO goes largely unquestioned, with that figure rising to 94 percent among those with mature PMOs.

“This year’s ‘State of the PMO’ study confirms what we have already been experiencing – the project management office is now an integral part of corporate operations,” says Kent Crawford, PMP and CEO of PM Solutions. “Clearly, executives see the impact that a mature PMO can have on the bottom line, and that speaks volumes about the future of the PMO.”

However, even the most valued players in the organization have areas for improvement, and for PMOs the issues primarily revolve around resource management, Crawford points out. The study showed that even the most mature PMOs struggle with this area, and improving resource management is a top priority for the coming year for the majority of PMOs.

Additional findings suggest growth opportunities for the PMO as it continues to mature. The research shows that mature PMOs are training less in the basics and more in advanced skills and leadership practices, thus preparing their staff for the next phase of PMO development. The majority of today’s mature PMOs work on high-value strategic tasks, and this list is expected to grow due to the impact on corporate finances.

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