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New Global Study Reveals the Value of the PMO

Arlington, Va., USA - May 26, 2011

Results of a new global study reveal that many organizations do not operate their Project/Program Management Office (PMO) as effectively as they could. Of the 82 percent of organizations worldwide that reported having a PMO, more than half do not even measure PMO effectiveness. Additionally, the survey results show that as PMOs have matured, organizations are increasingly questioning their value, ability to measure effectiveness and their role in growing PM capabilities through effective training.

More than 3,700 survey respondents included project/program managers and directors, heads of PMO, senior executives and other project-related staff both inside and outside the PMO from a wide range of industries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and the Asia Pacific (APAC) regions. ESI International conducted the study in March.

“The large majority of organizations who have PMOs indicate that they understand the advantages that PMOs can offer,” said J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, Executive Vice President, Product Strategy and Management, ESI International. “The results of ESI’s global survey indicate numerous areas where PMOs currently need to step up their game to demonstrate the impact of those advantages, including measurement, effect on career progression and their strategic role in the organization.”

Key findings from the survey included:

  • The discussion about PMO maturity has been overtaken by the discussion about PMO value, with 60 percent of respondents claiming their PMO’s value has been questioned.
  • Seventy-six percent of non-PMO staff say their organization either does not measure or they do not know whether it measures PMO effectiveness. In fact, 52 percent do not measure PMO effectiveness at all.
  • Forty percent of respondents say their PMO is operating to a fair or poor extent.
  • The PMO is a hub of project management training for some, but its positive influence on career progression is questionable. The PMO is strongest in conveying methodologies and other PM ‘hard’ skills (72 percent agree) and weakest in reviewing the effectiveness of training and its impact on project and program performance (only 35 percent agree).
  • The measurement of training impact is widely neglected in North America and EMEA, with 28 percent and 25 percent of PMO staff respectively reporting they do not measure training impact at all. It is more common in the APAC region, with only 18 percent who report they do not measure training impact.
  • Many PMOs are not operating at a strategic level with only 20 percent of respondents reporting they engage in portfolio management, and 15 percent reporting that they track return on investment and benefits realization.

“PMOs are clearly established in the organization,” said Ward. “However, they have only scratched the surface in reaching their full potential.”

For a free copy of the full ESI study, The Global State of the PMO: Its Value, Effectiveness and Role as the Hub of Training, visit

Survey Methodology

ESI International sent an email survey of open and close-ended questions to PMO (29 questions) and non-PMO staff (25 questions) and executives in North and South America, EMEA and APAC regions. The survey was conducted during March 2011. The number of respondents who participated in the survey was 3,740. Not all respondents answered every survey question. The survey was anonymous unless respondents wanted to receive the results, in which case they had to complete their details.

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About ESI International

ESI International is a global project-focused training company, helping people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative training in project management, business analysis and contract management. 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 programs 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 programs have benefited more than 1.35 million professionals worldwide. For more information visit