Many organisations are considering the role of their value-adding PMO given the changes we have all been subjected to due to the rise in remote working. 

On the other hand, there are PMOs who are considering their service catalogue to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and support their organisations better. 

Either way, it is important to start your PMO (or indeed transform the one you already have) with some key considerations and steps that will enable you to deliver a true value-adding PMO. 

Let us start with some facts from our latest State of Project Management Survey: 

  • Benefits Realisation remains the least likely activity to form part of PMO scope 
  • Project Reporting maintains its place at the top of the service catalogue for all PMOs 
  • 89% of organisations (who responded) have a PMO 
  • 71% believe that their PMO will increase in perceived value in the next year 

So, to get your PMO to be considered as a value-adding business partner, think about the following points before you begin. 

One size does not fit all PMOs

Building a Value Adding PMO

  • The ‘P’ in PMO continues to elude us and people still ask what the P stands for and what the team is in place to do
  • 52% of PMOs do not have a strategy even though there is a good percentage of organisations who have at least one PMO, many PMOs do not have a view on their future

Before you begin your PMO journey, make sure that you consider the DNA of PPM in your organisation and what makes it tick. Once you understand this, you can consider:

  • What does it mean to be the single source of truth in your reality?
  • Will the PMO be the steward and gatekeeper for change (can they be given the organisational context)?
  • How adaptable do you need to be to support your organisation (do you need a large degree of agility)?

Start with why

  • Building a Value Adding PMOThe Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve shows us that one day following any learning experience, we forget up to 65% of the information we have been told
  • Facts told as part of a story are 20 times more likely to be absorbed

So, your PMO needs to be able to tell stories, and the WHY of your PMO is the best possible story for you to share. Do so by:

  • You will only be able to build the right solution if you understand WHY your Customers need the PMO, so engage with them and ask what their expectations are. Your why is different to someone else’s.
  • Speaking human instead of project management means to use language that does not need education before people can converse

Value is perception

Building a Value Adding PMO

  • Value IS perception because they are subjective in their nature as we develop our values across the years based on our background, stimuli, and experiences
  • An example of this: if you as 40 people what value means to their organisation, you will find approximately 30 different types of value, many of which are not monetary focused

The value of your PMO is defined by the perception of your Customers, which in turn is influenced by the way in which you interact with them:

  • Living the values of the business and the PMO, once you commit to them your Customers should see you living them
  • Language of the business exists so take your communication to the next level and not only be Human Speaking but also use language familiar to the organisation
  • Understand the value thread of the organisation and develop your service catalogue to support that value

You are a salesperson

  • If you do not sell your PMO well internally, your Customer will go elsewhere in a number of potential ways:
    • Pet projects will happen under the radar
    • Leaders will allow and encourage circumventing of the process
    • Quality of products suffers, and projects fail

Although PMO is not a sales team, given the nature of the work we do, we need to ensure that everything we do ‘sells’ the idea, quality, and values of your PMO:

  • Consider the behaviours displayed by you and your team, do you act as a trusted business partner?
  • Make your PMO about relationship building, and remember that PMOs are integrators (see the Wellingtone PMO Principles article)
  • “If it’s not sexy it doesn’t leave this office” – a PMO mantra; ensure that all your products, templates, deliverables, and output tells the story of the PMO, looks appealing, and are easy to use

Metrics Matter

  • 54% of organisations do not track PMO Value because it is a difficult thing to do without devising non-standard measures
  • 30% of respondents to a survey in November 2019 disbanded a PMO, because of a lack of perceived value – most organisations want you to prove it

Whilst thinking about developing a new (or existing) PMO, it is important to remember the PMO Value Lifecycle because when PMOs fail, it is likely that one these steps is missing; most of the time the missing link is the measure:

PMO Value Lifecycle Capture - Deliver - Measure - Communicate

  • Do not be afraid to be transparent about the progress of your journey, even if the metrics and results don’t put the PMO in the perfect light today
  • Re-frame the conversation by aggregating measures so that you can tell a story with your results – data is just data, not information
  • The Value Lifecycle matters so make sure that you have all four steps covered

So what?

All PMOs go through the same journey, but a different flavour so learns from others experiences for the best chance of PMO success using activities such as benchmarking with organisations in your industry and get involved in the various online channels.

Considering these topics before you start, can help you to develop the best PMO for your organisation that you all agree on. And remember to be #HumanFirst and PMO Second