At the PMO Symposium in Orlando several months ago, Planview's Expert-in-Residence Terry Doerscher and I discussed a number of topics that seemed to permeate the conference. There were a number of sessions decrying the lack of PMO focus on value and benefits. And several sessions spoke of the growing trend toward lean and adaptive methodologies, and how the PMO can best accommodate and nurture them. There were even a few sessions on organizational adoption and culture change -- mine being one of them, and Terry’s being another -- and the measurement of these often-forgotten factors.
Terry and I agreed that, in a sense, all of these topics were about change -- how to manage it, how to anticipate it, and how to leverage it. In that regard, we began to think of the PMO as a "change management office." This, we surmised, would make the PMO a crucial and indisputable partner in any organization's leadership circle.
In such an environment, the PMO's role would be threefold:
- To foster and manage alignment, including strategic, functional, and cultural alignment
- To enable effective portfolio management as a way to bridge strategy, operations, and finance
- To refocus the organization on benefits and value, thus ensuring the best use of limited resources
In performing these critical functions, the PMO would shift its focus away from primarily monitoring and measuring execution success and dictating approaches, though it can and should provide guidelines, tools, and principles. Project managers and their teams should be empowered to choose the correct approach, with everyone agreeing on which items must be standardized, either for general effectiveness or for reporting purposes.
This leaves the PMO to focus on alignment toward value, paying attention to things like: outcomes and key drivers; ongoing validation of benefits and risks; assessments of competency and commitment across the organization; and, finally, integrated portfolio management of projects, services, assets, and products.
It's this broader view of alignment, combined with a business outcomes/capabilities focus, that enables an organization to embrace change and remain flexible and agile. Indeed, a PMO that's down in the weeds, focused purely on on-time, on-budget, and on-scope measures, is missing its key value to the organization.
To learn more about this topic, register the latest white paper titled, A Seat at the Table: Making Your PMO More Relevant in Times of Change.