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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Sixth Edition by Robert K. Wysocki

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Determining When You Need a Project Support Office

However you slice it, the PSO is established for the sole purpose of improving the processes and practices of project management for the group of projects and project managers over whom it has a stewardship responsibility. The PSO is an investment, and its ROI is measured in terms of cost avoidance. That cost avoidance is a direct result of a significant reduction in project failures for which the PSO is held directly responsible and accountable.

The Standish Group Report

The reasons for project failure have been investigated and reported in detail for several years. One of the most thorough research efforts into the reasons for project failure is the work of the Standish Group. Beginning in 1994 and repeating every two years, they have conducted interviews of 300+ C-level IT executives. The objective of these surveys is to discover and prioritize the reasons why IT projects fail. CHAOS 2010 is their most recent report. According to this study, the top ten reasons why IT projects fail were the following:

  1. Lack of user input
  2. Incomplete requirements and specification
  3. Changing requirements and specification
  4. Lack of executive support
  5. Technology incompetence
  6. Lack of resources
  7. Unrealistic expectations
  8. Unclear objectives
  9. Unrealistic time frames
  10. New technology

After reviewing the major functions that the PSO provides, you can see that a PSO is uniquely positioned to mitigate each of these 10 reasons for project failure. In fact, it is ...

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