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Training and the PMO: Sneak Preview of New Research Data

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin is editor-in-chief for PM Solutions Research, and the author, co-author and editor of over twenty books on project management, including the 2007 PMI Literature Award winner, The AMA Handbook of Project Management, Second Edition.

Our biennial research study, State of the PMO 2016, will be released later this week, but a few of the findings related to training were just too good not to share right away.

These studies, carried out since 2008 by PM Solutions Research (formerly the Center for Business Practices), are not just a report on trends. Many studies will tell you what organizations are doing ... but our studies add a level of analysis to that, so that they provide an indication of what functions and strategies actually work to improve organizational performance. Companies participating in the study -- and this year there were 226 -- rate their PMOs on a five point scale, from "Basic" to "Best in Class"; they also rate their overall organizational performance on eight measures ranging from financial performance to customer satisfaction. This allows us to correlate the activities of the best PMOs to organizational results.

So, with regard to training, how do Best-in-Class PMOs in High-Performing companies stand out?

For one thing, they do more training than their more lackluster peers ... a lot more. This has been a differentiator for high performers in this study consistently over the years. While most PMOs have a project management training program in place (60% -- up 11% from 2014),  PMOs in high-performing organizations are far more likely to have a training program in place than low performers (85% vs 38%).

Although the average number of days of training per year (5 days) is the same as in 2014, there is significant difference between PMOs in high-performing organizations (8 days) and PMOs in low performers (3 days) in terms of the number of days of PM training they offer on average. There’s a direct correlation between the capability of the PMO and whether they have established PM career paths and offer PM training. And PMOs in high-performing organizations are much more likely to have established PM career paths, offer PM training, and evaluate the competency of project managers than PMOs in low performers.

If you want to know what your PMO should focus on in order to deliver value to the organization, looking at the activities of PMOs in the "High-Performing" companies in this study provides a useful guide. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the new study hot off the presses to your inbox.

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