Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to summarise a doctoral thesis that has been defended in 2007 and to share scientific results on a recent organisational phenomenon, the Project Management Office (PMO), in a context where most of the literature is currently coming from consultants. The focus of this research bears on the PMO transformation process rather than on the description of their great variety. Results bring into question some established paradigms on PMOs. Design/methodology/approach – The methodological strategy is based upon a constructivist epistemology. Just as organisations are complex social entities, so too are the specific organisational project management structures that encompass PMOs. The methodological strategy is designed to understand such complexity. Results reported in the thesis are based upon a grounded theory approach where over 60 interviews from four large organisations were analysed to uncover the process of transformation of organisational project management. Findings – There are two primary findings. First, a PMO should not be considered as an isolated island in the organisation, but rather as one part of an archipelago, defined as the organisational project management. Second, the organisation project management and specifically the PMO evolve continuously adapting to changes in their external or internal environment or as an answer to internal tensions. Originality/value – From an academic perspective, the originality of this research rests primarily on its non‐positivist epistemology to the study of PMOs and particularly with the mobilisation of a social conceptual framework. From the professional perspective, it provides PMO managers with a fresh look at their own configuration and it gives them means to understand their evolution through their particular history. Being able to do this reflection, managers making decisions on structural dimensions are more critical of the advices from outsiders.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 23, 2009
Keywords: Project management; Organizational performance; Research work