The devaluation of project management – is there hope for the project manager?
Imagine being able to look into the decision making of an organization that includes a PMO (Project Management Office) who MUST perform downsizing (layoffs) as required by the senior management. This hypothetical organization has 100 employees, and we will call it our technology group. There are an additional 2,000 employees in the rest of the company. Revenues have been down, and the near-term fiscal forecasts are predicting continued declines. The company's senior managers (executive committee) have decided to remove between 11 and 16% of the employees. Each major organization will be given a specific downsize number and then decide which individuals will be laid off.The group manager of the technology group has decided to assemble her staff to discuss this action and make group decisions on who will be "impacted" within the organization. The staff consists of six managers: 1. research and development, 2. marketing, 3. operations and metrics, 4. products, 5. human resources, 6. PMO. The reduction number is 13. By the end of the meeting, the group manager wants to have 13 individuals named so they may be submitted to the executive committee for workforce reduction.Discussions begin, and as an unknown observer of this process, you start to sense that the PMO looks like a target. In fact, some of the managers are indicating that possibly all of the 10 project managers should "GO." This would mean only three additional employees from the remaining five units would be laid off. The PMO manager now has urgency to save the PMO. What can be said to respond to the devaluation of the PMO and prove its worth, even though that could mean laying off employees from other units INSTEAD OF THE PMO.This paper will present more background on the scenario, the differing consequences and choices available, and what could be done to prevent the situation to begin with. Is there hope for the project manager or is lay-off unavoidable?