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PMOs Survive Downturn, But Have Not Advanced Cause of Operational Excellence

Planview reveals findings of 2010 PMO Trending Survey Report

Austin, TX — January 17, 2011 — Project, Program and Portfolio Management Offices (PMOs) survived the recent economic downturn, but are increasingly impacted by operational challenges due to a limited ability to contend with common issues, according to Planview's 2010 PMO Trending Survey of nearly 600 representatives from PMOs across multiple industries.

Planview, a leader in the portfolio management space, today released the findings of its second study, a follow-up from its highly acclaimed 2008 benchmarking study.

The News

The 2010 PMO Trending Survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2010, quantifies what has changed for PMOs following 24 months of challenging economic conditions. The respondents are responsible for overseeing and applying skills, tools and techniques to project and program activities to help their organizations meet strategic and operational objectives.

Conducted by OpenSky Research, an independent third-party consulting and research firm, the study focused on determining PMO and process management wins, challenges and trends over the last two years.

Key Takeaways

The study offers some positive news: 2010 brought increased emphasis on the role and value of the PMO. PMOs remained in place, and, rather than being eliminated, they were often refocused to help the organizations they support better respond to changing business conditions.

The survey, however, finds that PMOs that were struggling with operational issues prior to the economic downturn faced only greater challenges as the recession took hold. PMOs whose processes were not mature enough to effectively deal with the routine issues of dynamic environments lost ground in the ongoing battle for operational excellence.

Challenges for PMOs

  • No improvement has been made, across the board, in PMOs' abilities to cope with common operational challenges, exposing a lack of preparedness to effectively function in the post-recession era
  • The majority of PMOs are struggling to accurately report and analyze actual operating conditions, making effective decision-making increasingly challenging
  • Most PMOs report chronic and ongoing challenges dealing with their organizations' ability to operate as a team, exacerbating their inability to control demand and focus reduced capacity

What It Means

"Our 2010 study uncovers a mix of good and bad news. We are excited to see that companies believe in the value that the corporate PMO can deliver -- PMOs escaped the waves of austerity cuts that marked much of the last 24 months, and were leveraged to help organizations refocus as business priorities shifted," said Terry Doerscher, chief process architect, Planview. "However, only 10.5% of respondents report that their processes are at adequate levels to effectively function in a high stress, dynamic operating environment -- 57% of survey participants reported that their processes are ineffective -- while the degree of PMO involvement in most process development activities actually decreased."

Doerscher added, "The survey reflects change in the office of the PMO during one of the most challenging economic times in decades. Companies understand the importance of PMOs to their organizations, yet process improvement and alignment was challenged, and clearly sacrificed, as stress increased."

For a copy of the full survey report, please visit To make inquiries or comments about the survey or report, or for permission to use portions of this report in the public domain, please contact

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