Need More Buy-in for Your PMO? Build a Community

By Jack S. Duggal, MBA, PMP | 12 March 2010

You built the project management office (PMO), but they are not coming. You have worked hard and created standard methods and processes, but project managers and team members are not using them. You provided the training and support, but people are doing their own thing and not embracing project management standards.

Imagine a different scenario, where everyone is excited about the PMO. They follow the processes because they want to, not because they are forced to. They connect with each other, solve common problems and collaborate in creating methods that are appropriate for them. They volunteer to share lessons learned and influence each other to use best practices. Project management spreads from the bottom-up and everyone collectively owns and values best practices.

Does it sound too good to be true? This is exactly what happened when we first tried a different approach over 10 years ago in a PMO with 150 project managers and 1,600 engineers in a professional services organization. After the resistance and rejection of a traditional top-down centralized PMO, a community-based PMO was initiated. There was increased adaptation and ownership of PMO practices and a gradual transformation toward a productive project management culture.

There are a number of ways to implement a PMO, from a traditional top-down centralized controlling model to a support and services-oriented PMO, and various hybrids in between. A different option is to build or transform your PMO to a community-oriented model, which is based on the concept of a community of practice (CoP).

In recent history, authentic jordans shoes Brand has taunted the sneaker world with the craziest limited releases and restocks. Find the largest selection of Authentic Air Jordans 11, including Jordan Retro Shoes, to the newest Authentic Jordans 11.. Shop Champs Sports for the best selection of authentic jordans 5 shoes and clothing.

A CoP is a group of people bound by common interest who are engaged in real work over a period of time. They build things, solve problems, and learn and invent new ways of doing things. In his book Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning, and Identity [Cambridge University Press, 1998], Etienne Wenger, PhD, a pioneer of CoP, defines it as a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

A good way to understand a CoP is to participate in one. PMI has been in the process of implementing communities of practice. PMI’s various communities of practice provide fertile grounds to experience a community up-close. They afford opportunities for you to participate, contribute and connect with others and see how you can implement similar practices in your organization.

While community-based PMO might have sounded like a novel idea a few years ago, today many organizations are implementing them. They recognize the effectiveness of informal structures to promote learning and sharing of knowledge and best practices, coupled with the convergence and popularity of social networks and the associated collaboration technologies.

A community-based PMO can harness the knowledge that already exists within the organization. Instead of the PMO playing the role of an elite subject-matter-expert, it facilitates a subject-matter-network to propagate practices that are more relevant to the community.

How do you build a community-based PMO? In the example cited previously, the PMO created and initiated a number of communities such as methods and processes, learning and development, measurement and metrics, quality and knowledge management. The PMO facilitated the communities and provided a collaboration platform for the communities to meet, self-organize and improve practices.

In CoPs, the emphasis is on ”practice” where practitioners practice, collaborate and improve upon their craft and produce results. Each community had a 180-day plan. For example, the methods and processes community developed a project management methodology with tools and templates that were meaningful to them.

If you are thinking that your organization is not ready to implement a full-fledged community model, you can start small. As a pilot, you can start a lunch-and-learn group of people who are interested in project management and pick a topic to discuss, work and improve upon. As word spreads and people see results, you can grow the community organically.

Do you want to build a dreaded control-oriented PMO—or a sandbox where everybody wants to come and play? A community based PMO is an effective way to transform your project management culture and gain buy-in and acceptance of your PMO. People help create it. Why would they resist or reject it?


How do you simplify..
& build a Department of Simplicity?Read more


How do you harness the power of
connection and community? Read more


Are you Measuring what matters?
read more


How do you find the sweet-spot to Balance..
and achieve Rigor without RigidityRead more