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Project Management Office: A real need or a trend?


The Project Management Office (PMO) phenomenon in Indonesia is nothing new. The place where I first explored my career in project management was PMO at a telecommunications company. Since then, I sense the growth of PMO in several other companies in Indonesia. My research on the Indonesian PMO Phenomenon in 2020 has shown a positive perception of PMO presence in companies. Furthermore, the birth of the PMO community honors PMO practitioners' aspirations in Indonesia.

I believe that the growth of PMO in Indonesia is not only influenced by the global trend, both by international standards from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and other professional project management organizations. There is also a growing need to manage multiple projects in companies where they have constraints in managing them and want to track the benefits out of them. Due to this limitation, the companies will prioritize, balance, and sometimes terminates projects based on PMO information. PMO has become rising stars to oversee and consolidate the project whereabout, apart from that the PMO can provide more services than that. PMI has published several publications in global survey results, including the Thought Leadership Series and Pulse of Profession, and academic articles from the Project Management Journal highlighting the positive effects of PMO existence globally. Due to this positive global trend, the PMO practice grows increasingly in Indonesia.

However, there is no such one shoe fits all method to the entire implementation of this PMO. Why? Because regardless of the project's unique nature, its culture and values ​​significantly impact how effective the PMO works. It's just that there is a missing link between management expectations and developing those capabilities. Although my research shows positive perception, respondents indicated a gap between expectations and existing PMO skills, as shown in Figure 1.



Figure 1. PMO Survey Result (Ichsan, 2020)

It shows the respondent's concern about the PMO manager's competency, who indicated it was still needed to develop, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. PMO Survey Result (Ichsan, 2020)

It has also caught my attention and initiated further research to establish a PMO manager's competency framework. I believe that a PMO manager's competence plays a significant role in performing effective PMO, based on my experience as a PMO leader and a researcher in the field, despite existing PMO professional certification. PMO in the area of ​​global focus focuses more on knowing PMO concepts from different angles.

Given the gap between PMOs' expectations and skills that have developed so far in Indonesia, it is crucial to understand that reaching the expected level takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you want to measure it in terms of organizational maturity. There has to be leadership support and seriousness to fill this void. Therefore, PMI Indonesia Chapter has been doing PMI Roadshow to help the organization applying PMO practices. Besides, Indonesia's PMO community contributing to the PMO Indonesia Guidelines (Project Management Office Professional Indonesia, 2020). It provides an easier way for PMO practitioners to develop PMO functions in their companies and provide a basic understanding that there are PMO functions that companies can use to manage multiple projects at an organizational level more effectively. Therefore, PMO education is based on the organization's needs and recognizes the effort and time spent setting it up. If it is true, then PMO formation isn't just a trend but a real need.



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