Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy, PhD


Center for Information Systems and Technology

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Brian Hilton

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Terry Ryan

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Robert Judge

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2020 Matthew Muga


Action Research, Information Technology, Maturity, Program Management, Project Management, Project Selection


The importance of a Project Management Office (PMO) in the world of Information Technology should never be underestimated. The collection of highly trained, skilled Project Managers (PMs), into a single collective PMO can provide a key strategic advantage for a company. However, in order for an IT Project Management Office to obtain a level of execution and project delivery success that can yield superior results, certain “Maturity” levels or milestones must be reached. Popular research and studies on maturity often claim that these levels cannot be reached in a short amount of time, as people and processes need to develop, be adopted, and optimized. However, expecting large IT departments to endure long months of time as its internal PMO matures to greater levels is an unwelcome prospect for IT Leadership. Can new processes, techniques, or tools in the realm of Information Technology be introduced to an already established Academic and Industry framework at a company where massive organizational transformation is occurring and which can demonstrate a rapid increase in maturity for key areas of an IT PMO?This dissertation is an Action Research (AR) engagement with a legendary technology company which will be referred to throughout this work as “Company X”. At the start of this project, the company found itself in a highly transformational time as a move from its former US headquarters in the Midwest to the West Coast was set to radically change the organization for years ahead. This transformation is not just because of the new strategy and overall vision of the company that the C-Suite Executives are championing, but is also the result of a fundamental shift in the collection of IT Professionals whose responsibility is to empower and enable the organization. During this move, over 70% of the IT workforce were laid off (most of whom had been with Company X for decades) requiring an almost complete re-staffing of US based IT personnel at the new HQ location. Added to this, was the formation of a brand new PMO team for the IT department. How could a new PMO within a recently created IT organization be able to quickly rise to the levels of effectiveness and efficiency needed in order to support a legendary Fortune 1000 technology company? An AR approach was chosen to understand the PMO’s challenges, and opportunities, as well as identify key areas in which experimentation could be conducted to drive maturity in rapid ways. Numerous surveys and guided interviews were completed with the IT department ranging from personnel such as PMs, Services and Application Managers, as well as IT Leadership members located in the United States. Data was captured and categorized, which served to aid in the formation of several proposed experiments within key areas to see if new approaches could rapidly advance maturity as gauged by the IT PMO Executive Leader. Upon selection of an experiment, there was a focus on Opportunity Costs which is critically overlooked in the OPM3 literature. The project was also implemented during a critical period of the fiscal year: budget season. During this time, new approaches, along with existing tools, were utilized to better understand how projects were being screened when working with Project Champions. The central focus on ensuring that these projects were ranked using their Strategic alignment to corporate goals alongside a clear understanding of Risk. When the budget reviews started with the C-Suite, the IT PMO Executive Leader had far more business intelligence, context, and understanding about these projects than ever before. This AR approach was conducted over a short period of time to rapidly drive maturity, had a solid impact on project selection through stronger advocation by the IT PMO Executive Leader (through a better understanding of the Opportunity Costs present in Strategy and Risk domains), and has now caused a process shift for future PMO work in this area. This dissertation concludes with a call for additional future research on Opportunity Cost in order to better train Project Managers to deal with this critical dimension of Project Management.