Shutting A PMO Down

I recently read an article by @Bill Dow on How To Shutdown a PMO. In as much as I was scared to read the article, I was also curious. I never thought about shutting down a PMO considering that this capability is considered essential to running and operating a business enterprise. I gave it a thought and maybe a worse case scenario would be an enterprise is closing its business. I look at that picture and I said it makes sense. Like a project closure, we need to have a way to close or shutdown every business group using a structure mechanism.

@Bill Dow provided the following as steps to shutting down a PMO:

  1. Create a project schedule.
  2. Review resources (FTE & contractors) for different roles in the organization.
  3. Shut down mentoring/buddy systems in place in the organization.
  4. Review all financial/billing and determine steps to close out.
  5. Review software contracts/maintenance agreements in place that will need closing.
  6. Review PMO materials/PMO sites and archive/backup.
  7. Actually shut down the PMO.

Like any project, we need to have a schedule for shutting down a PMO. We need to have some way to show progress as this kind of project will typically be under time pressure. Executives would need progress reports and some way to know what remains.

Shutting down a PMO impacts people like any force reduction or reorganization activity. As PMO lead or manager, you need to start working on transitioning the team in the PMO. If the company is keeping other departments active for the future, you may need to give the PMO resources enough time to transition. This is the hardest part and most emotional.

Similar to closing a program or project, the PMO should start reviewing its financial position. This might include paying out outstanding payables or closing out POs. Whatever money left is then returned to the enterprise.

The article talks about other elements that affects a PMO. I encourage you to read the article.


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