Harvard Business School: the Atekpc Project Management Office

Topics: Project management, Management, Organization Pages: 5 (1534 words) Published: July 28, 2013
Cases in Applied Project Management

Individual Assignment
Identify the main purpose and mission of a PMO and what are the main challenges and obstacles in implementing a PMO? (HBS: The AtekPC Project Management Office)

Submitted by: KMO Greene

The AtekPC Company found in 1984 has grown in size and scope to become a mid-sized technology PC manufacturer. The company now boasts 2100 fulltime employees with an additional 200 part time workers and revenues of $1.9 billion. AtekPC finds itself, like all other PC manufacturers facing a changing industry, one that is transitioning from a growth market industry to a maturing market industry and like all competitors in the marketplace, AtekPC is experiencing tremendous cost pressure and demands from management to adapt. In order for the company to survive must less thrive, company CIO John Strider believes a PMO implementation is very necessary but he is conflicted about the best way to implement said PMO office. Does he implement a PMO–heavy or PMO-light model? Can the PMO implementation change the organizational culture for the better and deal with the pressure AtekPC is facing or would the PMO implementation be disruptive to the organizational culture and as such become more of a problem than a solution. Questions about the main purpose and mission of the PMO and the main challenges and obstacles in implementing the PMO are questions that John will struggle with and questions that this assignment tries to answer.

The purpose and objectives of a Project Management Office (PMO) as defined by PMBOK is as follows: A project management office (PMO) is a management structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of one or more projects. There are several types of PMO structures in organizations, each varying in the degree of control and influence they have on projects within the organization, such as: Supportive - Supportive PMOs provide a consultative role to projects by supplying templates, best practices, training, access to information and lessons learned from other projects. This type of PMO serves as a project repository. The degree of control provided by the PMO is low. Controlling - Controlling PMOs provide support and require compliance through various means. Compliance may involve adopting project management frameworks or methodologies, using specific templates, forms and tools, or conformance to governance. The degree of control provided by the PMO is moderate. Directive - Directive PMOs take control of the projects by directly managing the projects. The degree of control provided by the PMO is high. While the PMO of AtekPC was still in its implementation phase, one of the problems facing Strider was defining its purpose while gradually proving its value. The PMO group was still evolving from its inception in 2006 but still had not build complete consensus regarding its purpose, responsibilities and authority. Strider believed in using a PMO light/low implementation approach, where project focused responsibilities were going to be the primary means used to prove the merits of the PMO. The plan was to create acceptance of the PMO by consulting and mentoring individual projects before branching out into a more enterprise role for the PMO. This approach used a minimal staff of experts who worked through internal project managers to perform the responsibilities of the PMO. The focus was on the development of skills of internal project managers. Not everyone involved believed in the light approach, Mark Nelson the new PMO manager agreed with the light approach to begin with but he also felt the delays from using this light approach might compromise the groups’ ability to provide effective PMO services...

References: Project Management Institute. (2013). A Guide to the project management body of knowledge: PMBOK guide (5th ed.). Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute
Harvard Business School. (2002). Project management manual. (Vol. 9-697-034). Boston, MA: IPS Assoc.
Mcfarlan, F. (2007). The atekpc project management office.Harvard Business School Case Studies, 9(308), 049.
Singh R, Keil Mark, Kasi Vijay (n.d). European Journal of Information Systems. Identifying and overcoming the challenges of implementing a project management office. Retrieved from http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ejis/journal/v18/n5/fig_tab/ejis200929t5.html
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