PMI New Hampshire Chapter

Establishing the PMO


Establishing the Project Management Office (PMO)
an Interview with Jim Stewart, 4Q4 style*


The following is an interview with Jim Stewart, PMP, CSM JP Stewart Associates by Peg Duggan, PMP

Thank you Jim for speaking at our March Chapter Meeting on the topic "Lessons Learned in Establishing a Project Management Office."  And thank you for spending some time to share more on PMOs.

What's the big idea?

Jim: Launching a strong Project Management Office is an effective way to establish and manage standardized project methodologies that drive consistently positive results. However, it is critical to align the PMO with your organization's strategic objectives AND understand that its implementation may be viewed as a significant disruption by some stakeholders. Its creation is fraught with potential pitfalls. If the PMO isn't set-up or promoted correctly, it often fails and is discredited. And while it is important to develop a PMO's technical components correctly (templates, project audits), it is critical that you understand the sociopolitical environment in which the PMO must operate. This is true for Agile as well as the traditional waterfall methodology.


How do you know?

Jim: I have set up several project management offices, the most recent of which was late 2016. As a project management practitioner for more than twenty years and a consultant for fourteen, I have worked with many different types of organizations in a variety of industries. I have seen the negative effects that an organization's lack of Project Management processes has on its project objectives. I have also seen the positive impact organizations experience when they say 'Enough' and start incorporating best practices into their projects. Those best practices-in organizations that are the most serious about project management-usually culminate in the establishment of a PMO.

Why should I care?

Jim: More and more organizations are running more and more projects. Yet, the average project failure rate is still currently around 40%. If you are running projects or programs, planning to implement a PMO, or are directing project or program managers, it is imperative that you understand the value of a PMO on your projects' objectives. And conversely, the "value" of not enforcing best practices.

What should I do?

Jim: First, take stock of your company's situation.

Ask yourself:

  1. Are our projects achieving their objectives?
  2. Are they mostly on-time and on budget?
  3. Are our project managers well-trained?
  4. Is there anyone in your group responsible for mentoring, training, templates and the promulgation of best practices?

Thank you, Jim.


About Jim Stewart, PMP, CSM, JP Stewart Associates

With over 20 years' experience in IT, Jim has managed numerous multi-million dollar international infrastructure and software development programs. Since 2003, as a principal of JP Stewart Associates Jim has been engaged in multiple endeavors including consulting, training and mentoring. A PMP since 2001 and Certified Scrum Master since 2013, he frequently helps organizations increase their project maturity by incorporating best practices. He recently consulted to a financial services firm to help them set up a project management office. He also provides project management training both in public and private in-house sessions.

Contact Info

Jim Stewart, PMP, CSM
(781) 223-7218
Linked In: 
Web Site: 
Twitter: @JimPStewart

Kathleen Babin-johnson, PMP
Director of Publications
PMI New Hampshire Chapter

*4Q4: coined by Dan Pink as "An easy 4-step method for teaching any skill". See it here: