The role of project management offices (PMOs) in IS project success and management satisfaction

Ward, John and Daniel, Elizabeth (2013). The role of project management offices (PMOs) in IS project success and management satisfaction. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 26(3) pp. 316–336.



Purpose: Organisations are increasingly using project or programme management offices (PMOs) to co-ordinate activities across information system (IS) projects. This paper explores how the presence of PMOs and their involvement in IS projects relates to project success and to senior management satisfaction with those projects.

Design/methodology/approach: The study uses an exploratory survey method to consider the relationship of both the presence of a PMO and the involvement of the PMO in five key practices that span the project life-cycle on project success and management satisfaction.

Findings: Counter-intuitively, it is found that the presence of a PMO reduces senior management satisfaction with IS projects and has no effect on the overall success rates of those projects. The study draws on ideas of escalation of commitment to explain this finding.

Practical implications: The findings suggest that it is more important for PMOs to be involved at the start and at the review stage of projects, rather than in the on-going monitoring, which is where much of their current focus is.

Originality/value: This study is the first that we are aware of, to identify a reduced level of management satisfaction associated with the presence of a PMO. It is also the first study to consider PMO involvement at the level of key project practices and hence to be able to suggest how to understand and address the reduced management satisfaction identified.

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