Recent Poll Revisits Link between PMO Success Rate and Level of Executive Support

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Results from Instantis' Ultimate Guide to Business-Driven PMO Success Webinar indicate Powerbase alignment is just one of six critical successful factors for business-driven PMO success.

Some PMOs are succeeding without strong executive sponsorship and powerbase alignment

To be successful most Project Management Offices (PMOs) must have the authority and empowerment that results from support and alignment with key business and IT leadership. However, new data suggests that there are exceptions to the rule that success or failure may be predetermined by sponsors and host organization and that an individual can do everything right but be doomed to failure if that person doesn't have the right level of executive support from the start. A recent poll testing the linkage between PMO success and powerbase alignment indicates that the correlation is indeed significant but that a signicant number of PMOs with, at best, a moderate level of executive support are being successful in meeting business stakeholder expectations.

The poll was taken during an April 11, 2012 live Webinar event entitled The Ultimate Guide to Business-Driven PMO Success. The Webinar was jointly hosted by cloud-based project portfolio management solution provider, Instantis, and Info-Tech Research Group, a global leader in providing IT research and advice. Over 200 individuals attended the event and participated in the polls.

The specific question asked was: “If you currently have a reasonably well established PMO in place, which option most closely describes your situation in terms of powerbase alignment and level of success?” The results were as follows:
A: Strong or high level of executive support; meeting business stakeholder expectations (29%)
B: Low or moderate level of executive support; meeting stakeholder expectations (31%)
C: Strong or high level of executive support; NOT meeting stakeholder expectations (21%)
D: Low or moderate level of executive support; NOT meeting stakeholder expectations (19%)

In sum, for half of the PMOs surveyed, their perceived level of success is in alignment with their perceived level of executive support. Roughly 60% of this group is succeeding and enjoys a high level of executive support and about 40% of this group is not succeeding while having at best a moderate level of executive support.

“On the surface at least, the surprise here is that a healthy 31% of PMOs are being successful without a high level of leadership support,” said Wayne Caccamo, VP of Marketing at Instantis. However, this could be explained by the fact that 58% of respondents viewed their PMO as tactically focused, rather than strategically focused, based on a separate poll question posed to this very same audience (see related Instantis blog post "Poll results show PMOs getting more strategic", April 16, 2012). For PMOs that aspire to have a strategic impact on the business, the percentage of PMOs that views themselves to be successful is likely to be significantly smaller using that lens.

“The 19% of PMOs that are not meeting expectations while enjoying a high level of executive support serves as a reminder that executive support is no guarantee of success,” added Caccamo. “In addition to leadership alignment, other PMO critical success factors include strategy alignment, metrics alignment, customer alignment, culture alignment and process maturity alignment.”

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Marc Gendron
MarComm PR
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