Research Projects

Implementation of Project Management Offices (PMO) in US Airports

Project Management Offices (PMOs) are a well-established concept in Project Management literature and they are widespread across much of the private and public sectors. However, the establishment of PMOs (particularly, enterprise PMOs or EPMOs) at US airports – many of which are local government entities – have traditionally lagged behind their contemporaries. Although some PMOs currently exist at US airports, they are not as widespread as one might think, especially considering the massive complexity of many airport projects.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

I was tasked with (and have subsequently implemented) a new Project Management Office back in 2017 for RDU International Airport, a growing medium hub US airport. One of my first steps in this process was to do thorough data collection on the topic.

I didn't find much.

While a great deal of literature, best practice and other information exists on the topic of PMOs in general, hardly any information exists on the topic of PMOs from an airport environment.

Through many conversations and various connections, I was able to independently identify (and subsequently speak with) 9 US airports that currently have PMOs. Yet what I found was that practices where inconsistent, mandates varied, and no written standards or best practices actually exist that are specific to the unique operating environments of US airports. This seems to me like a significant gap that should be addressed, and I am hopeful professional research can be conducted to fill in this gap for our industry.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

The objective is to develop formal research on the prevalence of Project Management Offices (PMOs) throughout US airports, as well as narrative on the pros, cons, benefits and challenges of implementing such entities in the unique operating environments of US airports. Such research would serve to inform airports Sponsors about the merits and/or drawbacks of PMOs, and it would support the Sponsor's decision processes regarding whether to pursue the creation of such an entity at their airport.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

Please see a presentation I made at the University of Maryland on this topic. https://pmsymposium.umd.edu/pm2019/session/building-an-enterprise-pmo-from-the-ground-up-the-rdu-airport-experience/

I have a collection of research (and a synthesis of research) on general PMO material which I am happy to share if requested.

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Idea No. 239