Communications of the Association for Information Systems


After decades of progress, IT projects are still too likely to fail. Managing projects for success has become a critical goal for many organizations. Project portfolio management started in the Coors Brewing Company (CBC) as a way to improve the success rates of IT projects. Before the creation of an IT program management office (PMO) about 65 percent of running projects were rated as healthy (essentially on-time and on-budget); after the creation of the IT PMO, as many as 95 percent of the ongoing projects became rated as healthy. While the IT PMO was dramatically improving the efficiency of the IT organization, the New Product Packages (NPP) organization was implementing its own product program management office. Ultimately, the combined buzz of these two success stories within Coors led the CEO to sanction the creation of a U.S.-divisional PMO - known as the CBC PMO. With the recent merger with Molson Canada another layer was created called the Global PMO. What started as a strategic IT initiative ended up changing the entire culture and framework of the company - Coors had entered the elite group of companies that could prove stellar technology investment success rates. Now, while its vision is to create PMOs in its other two subsidiaries, Coors Brewers Limited (CBL) and Molson Canada, as it did with the creation of its CBC PMO, the company is running into some new challenges. This case study is split into four main sections: Introduction, Background (Coors history, project portfolio management history), IT PMO, and Global PMO. In the introduction we present the two organizations that have driven the creation of the Molson-Coors operational portfolio architecture: the IT PMO and the Global PMO. This summary then allows us to frame the four core problems of this paper in both the context of these two PMOs and in the context of the recent merger with Molson, Inc. After clarifying the goals of the paper, we then step back and review the history of the Coors Brewing Company and the history of project portfolio management. With the goals outlined and the background established, we start the section on the evolution of the IT PMO. Finally, in the last section, we show how the four core problems derived from the Global PMO and how lessons learned from the IT PMO may be applied. We hope that by framing the four problems from different perspectives (corporate history, industry approaches, IT PMO evolution and the Global PMO architecture) the reader will be able to more easily develop solutions.