Constructing Program Management Offices for Major Defense Acquisition Programs: Factors to Consider Open Access

Over the last two decades, assessments of major defense acquisition systems consistently cite program management office (PMO) effectiveness as a key factor for successfully producing weapon systems. Studies conducted across government, industry, and academia attribute PMO effectiveness to ideal organizational structure, relevant capabilities, and well-balanced skill mix among other PMO attributes. This research identifies key factors to consider when constructing systems integration organizational structures (SIOS) for large, complex programs. Unique organizational factors emerged from the analysis of 162 Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) (including current and terminated systems, 1995-2016). Theoretically, these factors will help the program management scholars design a robust decision model that will guide selection of organizing constructs for MDAP PMOs. This research provides the methodology used to identify primary SIOS types, evaluate SIOS effectiveness, and identify core factors that help Program Managers select a SIOS that aligns with acquisition strategy. Program Managers can review SIOS type attributes and gain understanding of available SIOS configurations, the success rate and factors associated with a given SIOS type and understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option. While most SIOS types will work, probability of success can be improved by selecting the configuration that best suits the program factors.

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