Pitfalls when upgrading an existing PMO

Once of the temptations when taking over a new organization is to apply the lessons of the past.  I characterize it as a temptation, because simply taking what worked before as the template for the future sure saves a lot of thought and planning.   But does it work?

Applying the SAP global PMO template to Mead Johnson would have meant implementing an extensive training regimen, installing a new PMIS, and building out a new set of PM processes and methodologies.  While I would have had a great game plan to execute that approach,  MJN doesn’t need to improve many of the capabilities that this plan would have provided or augmented. 

For example, as the sole source of nutrition for infants, Mead Johnson’s products are regulated by the FDA.  MJN has extensive SDLC and other process documentation already in place.  We also have a perfectly fine project management framework that we can leverage from our pre-IPO parent (and majority stakeholder) Bristol-Myers Squibb.  What would be the value in pushing a new methodology into a company that already had a perfectly serviceable set of artifacts? 

Very little.  In fact, pushing something new would have ruined my credibility.  We already have a strong culture of documentation and compliance here, which is the most cherished outcomeof a methodology initiative.   Change for change’s sake is not a winning approach to such a culture.

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