The objective of the PMO is to support the business to deliver and implement change successfully. Whilst organisations grow, the scale, level of change and the strategic objectives evolve. Modern projects face several challenges, some of which have evolved due to advancements in technology, globalisation and changing business environments. Projects are often complex, involving multiple technologies, numerous stakeholders and are interdependent. Whilst technological change continues to evolve, compliance with increasingly stringent and more complex regulations will only add to the mix. Competing for skilled, limited resources will also pose a challenge and whilst globalisation can help to address it through access to the resource, managing cultural differences, time zones and communication barriers will continue. The PMO will need to evolve to address these challenges.
PMOs have evolved significantly since its early days, where it focussed predominantly on providing administrative support. It is fair to say that some still perceive it this way but there is also evidence of more mature hybrid PMOs emerging covering Support, Control and Directive activities. PMI (Project Management Institute) defines the 3 types of PMO:
The boundaries of PMO flex with the requirements and maturity of change within the organisation, it’s structure, size, scale of the portfolio as well as level of automation. The 3 types, as described by PMI can help to understand the basic PMO structure, possible models however should not restrict how the PMO should support and add value to the organisation.
Looking to the future
The future of PMO will be driven by market and technology developments together with the structure and strategy of the business that they support.
AI technologies are already reducing the administrative burden and this will continue to evolve creating capacity. Maximising new functionality available through Project Management and PMO tooling will be required PMO adoption and implementation across change teams.
Capabilities in PMO will shift from administrative to directive requiring a change in approach to Stakeholder Management and influencing skills, holding sponsors and Project Managers to to account for delivery of outcomes.
With an increasing need for early benefit delivery, Agile adoption will increase and PMOs will need to evolve to support this. Less documentation and more nimble governance structures will require supporting and assuring in a different way to that seen in traditional Waterfall structures.
Strategically aligned benefit tracking and realisation will be a core activity – evidencing the impact of change on the organisation and justifying cost and resources utilised. Moving away from a theoretical, up-front aspiration and to a trigger for decision-making and reprioritisation aligned with business plans and risk appetite.
Cost base and resource challenges will require prioritisation of change. In support, PMOs will need to proactively support the Exec in prioritisation of change through transparent progress reporting and project controls. Ailing projects will need to be identified and interventions made early to protect budget, resources, and outcomes.
A successful PMO evolves with the organisation, supports decision making, drives project outcomes, and contributes to the success of the organisation – Is your PMO set up for success?
How can we help?
Talk to Simplify about how we can help assessing and improving your PMO capabilities and set up for the future – get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.