The fast-tracked digital transformation of 2020 amounted to most organisations reviewing their operating model to continue to effectively support their Customers. The PMO is no different to the wider organisation and has had to consider their own Customer needs to continue to support the Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) community. In this article, I will look further at PMO digitalisation and what organisations must look at to improve their service offering.

Lots of organisations have spent time digitalising their services over the last year as shown by some research completed by McKinsey.

McKinsey Research - Organisations Digitalising their Services

The Importance of Community

Right now, most PPM practitioners are working from home, physically separated from colleagues and team members. This has resulted in most being connected digitally for the whole day; with corridor and water cooler conversation has gone by the wayside.

A side effect of this extra connectivity is a lack of human interaction. Many teams have scheduled non-work online events, but there have been sacrifices along the way. Notably the ability to assure projects and programmes, as well as the continuing development of individual skills.

During the Wellingtone APM Accredited PMO Practitioner course, we discuss building communities and identify the key factors that enable communities to thrive. Utilising research by Wenger-Trayner in Introduction to Communities of Practice, we know that communities must have:

  • A domain (or an area of interest) because this helps to define your community why statement.
  • The Practice represented by practitioners who are working or learning within that area of interest.
  • Joint Activities that enable the community to get together and collectively learn about their area of interest

Digitalising your PMO Community

A good way of beginning the journey to digitalisation is to group activities together into different types.

  • Learning – Core PPM activities that support the dissemination of the chosen project management principles and its associated processes
  • Learning – Complementary Skills training that supports the chosen methodology to optimise project success
  • Support informal events and group sessions to offer hands-on support pertinent to the individual project or programme
  • Social activities designed for peers and colleagues to connect

By separating the types of activities, PMO teams can design communication and personal development strategy that will help your community members to learn, share, and grow.

PMO Community Events

The key to digitalising PMO community events is to consider the way that the message gets across, and select the best possible vehicle for each one. For example;

Event Type Event Vehicle Considerations
Learning – Core PPM Remote-Live
  • Talking over slides is not enough, ensuring that different learning styles are catered for is key to ensure engagement.
  • Exercises should be incorporated to provide some peer-to-peer collaboration and discussion.
  • Timings should be kept to a maximum of 4 hours per session to avoid loss of concentration from the delegates.
Learning – Complementary Skills Webinar
  • Short bursts of information can provide a great resource for community members to utilise when they need.
  • Identify topics that support pain points, or areas that take project management discipline to the next level.
  • Include forums and the ability for peers to connect post-event.
Support Online Meeting or Forum
  • Develop a regular space for community members to drop into to get support and help with key aspects of their project.
Social Online Meeting
  • Networking is key between peers and provisioning space for topics to be discussed.
  • Consider using these forums for discussing and identifying lessons as part of knowledge management activities.

Choosing PMO and PPM Training

Not all PMO Community and PPM training activity is delivered by the PMO. Some activities require specialist knowledge, and this is where external support should be considered.

When choosing virtual training and workshops for a community it is important to review potential offerings against their ability to cater for your members like the PMO itself would do.

  • Quality of the training provided should be sanity checked before commitment. Is the content of training and workshops independently accredited, or created using a community? These checks can avoid training that is based on opinion rather than experience.
  • Vehicles are available for the training or workshop to take place. Utilising the right vehicle for the right event is fundamental to a positive attendee experience.
  • Engagement tools exist to develop engagement opportunities during and after events, so ensure that your provider uses a variety of methods for interactivity.
  • Ongoing Support is out of scope for many providers of training and facilitation services. However, understanding if there is an opportunity for ongoing support can really help to provide a stable base for learning.

Can External Organisations Support PMO Digitalisation?

Yes it can! At Wellingtone we often help organisations to define their PMO and PPM Development strategy and communications plan.

Wellingtone offers Dr PMO Clinic appointments to all members of the community to ensure that they have a safe space in which to ask for help and advice.

We invite this pool of people (our Hive Mind) to support the development of new courses or content, ensuring that even non-accredited learning opportunities are not based solely on the opinion of a few; but instead rooted in experience and insights.

The Wellingtone eLearning Academy is also now available for individuals or teams to take online and Remote-Live courses, enabling PPM teams to learn, share, and grow skills together to deliver successful projects for their organisation using whatever method they prefer.

Watch Wellingtone eLearning Academy

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Monthly Newsletter

By: Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

Emma Arnaz-Pemberton
Consulting Director FAPM, MCMI, MPMI, MIoD PMO-CC, MoR, MSP, PRINCE2

Published: 27 January 2021

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