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Keywords:

  • project management office (PMO);
  • transformation process;
  • drivers of change;
  • organizational change

Abstract

Project management offices (PMOs) are dynamic organizational entities, frequently in transition from one charter and structure to the next. Within this article, we present empirical results on the nature and reasons for this transition. The article reports the second of a series of studies aimed at understanding the dynamics of PMOs. It addresses the mistaken paradigm that PMOs change because characteristics or functions in an existing PMO are wrong and require a new PMO charter or structure that can last for a long time. Instead of that, the article proposes a process view on the transformation of the PMO as being triggered by conditions within the external and/or internal context and producing outcomes in terms of impacts from the transformation. A global web-based questionnaire on PMO transitions in structure and charter yielded 184 responses. Factor analysis and correlation analyses revealed that the transition of a PMO from one configuration to the next is not a question of being right or wrong. PMOs in transition can rather be understood as a multilevel dynamic process anchored in a specific organizational context change. From the academic viewpoint, the authors believe that this research filled a large gap in the understanding of the reasons for and nature of PMOs to transition.