Value-Adding PMO’s – Where, and how do I get one?

 

PMO’s continue to be undervalued and their importance as a strategic enabler not realised and leveraged accordingly.

The traditional view of a PMO is that they are seen as bureaucratic traffic cops & template enforcers, as well as cost-centres that are focused on doing projects right as opposed to the more important question of “Are we doing the right projects at the right time?”. In this environment people do things because “the PMO instructs them to” and are therefore extrinsically motivated. A good example of this is a former colleague of mine when joining another organisation and needing to set up a PMO from scratch asked me “Ben, I’m setting up a new PMO in my new gig. To start off, do you know where I can get my hands on some good templates?” Oh dear….so not the right question….

Where we want to move to is a PMO that adds value to the organisation thereby providing a clear and directed focus on achieving organisational benefit delivery & business value. Moreover, that the value is clearly perceived consistently by all stakeholders as value is perceived and in the eye of the beholder. Success is more probable here as your people will drive success because they will be intrinsically motivated and understand the value of doing so.

Some key points to ensure that your PMO adds value are:

  • Understand the purpose of the PMO – What are you trying to achieve and why? Simon Sinek is a smart guy…do like Simon!
  • Ensure that effective senior executive sponsorship is in place.
  • Don’t forget the Change Management!
  • Ensure project practitioners learn to think and speak in business terminology and not project management jargon.
  • Ensure your EPMO is aligned to organisational strategy and that the programmes and projects in-flight are aligned to achieving the desired outcomes.
  • Ensure roles include responsibility for aligning the project portfolio to strategy, monitoring progress and optimising delivery of strategy, navigating risk, driving benefits realisation, enhancing governance and accountability, and managing talent.
  • Ensure that your PMO drives consistency on what value is means and how it is perceived.
  • Target and tailor delivery of your communications to each stakeholder group as each has a different value proposition.
  • Ensure that you measure agile projects against traditional projects differently as they are different beasties. Furthermore, remember that the portfolio life-cycle is very different to the project life-cycle so approach accordingly
  • If moving to an agile PMO ensure the team and applicable stakeholders have the relevant training.
  • As always, pragmatism is king so ensure you take a tailored and practical situational approach that is right for your organisation.

It’s not easy, but with the above in mind the outcome will be rewarding. Contact Fastlane Solutions if we can be of any assistance - we’re here to help!

Benjamin Howell

Benjamin is an Associate Partner and P3M Capability Practice Lead for Fastlane Solutions. He is a pragmatic capability builder with extensive experience over two decades in portfolio, programme, and project management, as well as business analysis, and change management. He has worked with numerous, disparate, and diverse cultural teams throughout Australia, the UK, India, Hong Kong, and Japan. These roles comprised of permanent / full-time and contract consulting and non-consulting roles across the private sector within the pharmaceutical, hospitality, telecommunications, finance, defence, and recruitment industries.

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