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MGM Mirage Seeks to Transform Its IT Project Management Office into an Enterprise Project Management Office

MGM Mirage Seeks to Transform Its IT Project Management Office into an Enterprise Project Management Office

The discipline and transparency imposed by a project management office (PMO) can benefit the entire company, not just IT, says Myrna Soto, MGM Mirage's CISO and vice president of IT governance.

Two years ago, Myrna Soto established an IT project management office at MGM Mirage, the US$7.7 billion casino entertainment company. Now Soto, who is the chief information security officer (CISO) and vice president of IT governance, wants to expand the IT project management office into an enterprise project management office that would oversee all manner of projects-not just IT projects-for the company.

According to a study of the effectiveness of PMOs conducted by Business Information Architects, a Canadian consulting firm, enterprise project management offices are more effective than departmental PMOs because they're more likely to earn executive support and because projects approved through an enterprise PMO are more likely to be aligned with corporate strategy and business goals.

Soto says her goal has always been to expand the IT PMO into an enterprise PMO and to have all projects and portfolios "of a certain significance or certain amount of capital" funneled through the enterprise PMO because she believes all corporate projects can benefit from the discipline of a project management framework and methodology.

"Any organization that is making significant investments is in need of watching and monitoring their investments to make sure they're getting the right return and utilizing their resources as best they can," she says.

And MGM Mirage certainly has one big investment portfolio. The IT project management office currently oversees some 230 projects valued between US$90 and $100 million. Meanwhile, the company is in the process of building CityCenter, a US$8 billion complex that will feature hotels, condominiums, a casino, a conference center and retail space.

Soto is well-positioned to advance the cause of the enterprise project management office at MGM Mirage. She created an enterprise project management office at two previous employers, Broadspire and a division of American Express, and she says that the IT project management office she established at MGM Mirage has received a positive response from functional executives in marketing, corporate strategy and development.

"They had noticed significant changes in the IT organization as far as how we were using different tools and the PMO framework to articulate global priorities and engage with stakeholders," says Soto. "They recognized that they had, for the size of their organization, a pretty robust portfolio of initiatives that they were having a difficult time getting their arms around. They wanted to understand how they could use a similar framework to better manage projects and resources."

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