How Do Dysfunctional PMO‘s Sometime Execute A Project Successfully?
Many project management consulting professionals have watched a dysfunctional PMO execute a project successfully. How did that happen? While the rest of us are creating solid budgets and timelines, while we’re diligently minding our progress and watching for potential problem areas downstream, these broken project teams manage to succeed in spite of themselves. Can we call it luck? I don’t think so. In those cases where I’ve seen a heavily flawed project management team achieve its objectives, there are usually some extraordinary circumstances that contribute to the project’s success.
Many problems can slip past disconnected stakeholders or an executive team that isn’t paying attention. Projects that are over budget or miss a deadline may never be questioned, and even failures on a critical deliverable could glide under the radar. If your performance is never truly subjected to scrutiny, what does it matter if you do a good job or not? But beware the downside: the long-term effectiveness of projects that don’t pass muster is diminished, meaning that stakeholders might not trust your PMO’s recommendations in the future, or other projects may need to be implemented to fix what went wrong the first time.
A project team comprised of high-performing individuals will often succeed, even if a subset of members aren’t pulling their weight. Self motivation and sheer determination can usually drive those who set high standards for themselves to cover a lot of faults if it means the project will succeed. Unfortunately, in my experience these situations ultimately put the organization in an even worse position when the stars of the PMO move on in search of a team that doesn’t take advantage of them.