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New Survey Reveals Emergence of the
Next-Generation Project Management Office

Despite higher sophistication, PMOs continue to be called into question by key stakeholders

London, UK – May 1, 2012 –ESI International, the world's leading project management training company, today unveiled the findings of its latest annual benchmarking survey, “The Global State of the Project Management Office: On the Road to the Next Generation.” The survey, which investigates the current role of the Project/Programme Management Office (PMO), its development to full-blown maturity and value for the overall business, reveals the emergence of a new kind of Project/Programme Management Office that ESI has identified as the “Next-Gen PMO.”

What is considered a Next-Gen PMO? Based on responses from over 3,000 respondents in more than 17 industries on six continents, ESI’s global survey revealed that Next-Gen PMOs:

     — actively engage in helping employees apply what they’ve learned in training back on the job,
     — are more business-oriented,
     — are considered more developed (so-called “maturity”),
     — have a stronger customer focus, and
     — are more valued than those that don’t assist in applying training back on the job.

Indian and Chinese organisations, in particular, are well on their way to adopting characteristics of the Next-Gen PMO as reflected in the survey responses.

Even though more PMOs are exhibiting a higher level of maturity this year (18 percent) compared to last (15 percent), many are still struggling to find ways to prove their value.

ESI’s PMO survey points out the challenges that still face today’s PMOs:

  • In general, PMOs still rely heavily on standard definitions of success such as on time, to-budget project delivery to measure their worth.
  • Unlike last year (30 percent), return on investment (ROI) is being used less this year to measure training impact (25 percent).
  • Three out of five PMOs are actively engaged in selecting collaboration software. Most regions have a high adoption rate, with the exception of parts of Asia.
  • Around 55 percent claimed the value of their PMO was indeed called into question by key stakeholders, a move up from about 40 percent in 2011. Executive scrutiny plagues two out of every three PMOs that are called into question.
  • This year even fewer PMOs (70.4 percent) are measuring the actual impact of their training compared to last year (75.7 percent).

"While many organisations may aspire to build the Next-Gen PMO, the majority of PMOs have a long way to go before reaching that status,” claims J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, Executive Vice President, Product Strategy & Management, ESI International and lead researcher in the study. “The Next-Gen PMO is a business-minded one that utilises ROI for its training impact and effectiveness measurement along with active engagement in learning sustainment."

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About ESI International
ESI, a subsidiary of Informa plc (LSE:INF), helps people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative learning. In addition to ESI’s more than 100 courses delivered in more than a dozen languages at hundreds of locations worldwide, ESI offers several certificate programmes through our educational partner, The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1981, ESI’s worldwide headquarters are in Arlington, Va., USA. To date, ESI’s programmes have benefited more than 1.35 million professionals worldwide.