In what world is the use of a PM methodology a more important measure of PMO effectiveness than customer satisfaction?

Answer: In the world we live in right now……..

ESI International’s 2015 Global State of the PMO asked a series of questions regarding measuring PMO effectiveness. Sixty five percent of the respondents said the PMO did measure its own effectiveness, 23% said no, and 12% said “I don’t know.” If a person doesn’t know if the PMO is measuring effectiveness it probably isn’t, so I would say 35% said no. This defies all logic. Why wouldn’t a PMO manager want to know how effectiveness his or her PMO is?

Of those that do measure the effectiveness of the PMO, the most popular criteria (78%) is “Projects delivered on time and budget,” and the least used one is “PM training rates” (25%). What I found most interesting, and disappointing, is that more PMOs rated their effectiveness based on the use of their PM methodology (53%) than customer satisfaction (43%). Stop and think about that for a minute. Should PM methodology use trump customer satisfaction? Not now, not ever.

As business professionals and consumers we are inundated with customer satisfaction surveys on a regular and frequent basis. We receive them from hotels, car dealerships, hospitals, and businesses of all kinds. In fact, we’re asked for our opinion darn near everywhere. Check this out. This is what I saw when exiting the men’s room at Singapore’s Changi Airport.


Evidently, the operations folks at Changi are more concerned about my perception of their service than 35% of the PMOs in the ESI survey.

Why don’t certain PMO mangers measure their own effectiveness? I’ve come up with a few reasons. Is it because they-

  • struggle with the right criteria to use? (my advice: use the criteria ESI used in its report)
  • don’t know how to put together a survey? (my advice: hire a 16 year old who knows SurveyMonkey)
  • don’t have enough time to do it? (my advice: cut your lunch break short; it doesn’t take much time)

In fact, there’s no legitimate excuse for a PMO not measuring its effectiveness. The survey can be short and to the point. Here’s an example of a customer satisfaction survey I came across at Heathrow airport this month.


How simple. It’s as quick as a Rorschach Test.

Then I got an idea. What if a kiosk such as this was placed outside the PMO Manager’s office (or cube). After conversing with the PMO Manager and staff, the visitor would leave and see this “modified” kiosk shown below.

heathrow cust sat kiosk

Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere!

If this is a little far-fetched, then at least these PMOs should use the “ultimate question” method espoused by the loyalty guru Fred Reichheld.



What’s the “ultimate question” in this case? “Would you recommend your PMO to your colleagues?” Fred says this is the only question you ever need to ask. ESI has used this approach to measure customer satisfaction for many years. I know. I started it there.

The question of value and the PMO dominates the discussion today: in print, on the web, at conferences, and in the many presentations I’ve attended. PMOs are struggling to demonstrate value, and many believe to remain a viable asset they need to become more “strategic.”  They’re right; they need to demonstrate value and the one way to do that is to canvass their customers on a regular and frequent basis to gauge their level of satisfaction with the services provided. It is an absolute mistake not to measure your customer’s perceptions of your services or products.

Here’s the takeaway: this survey shows that many PMOs are too inward focused, stuck in the tactical mud of process and standards, when they should be focused outward on the very folks for whom they were created to support.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “In what world is the use of a PM methodology a more important measure of PMO effectiveness than customer satisfaction?

  1. Thanks Leroy,

    A great idea to survey our project managers to see how they rate the services provided by the PMO. We think we are adding value to them but are we really?