Five Ways Future PMOs Will Support Organizations

Jan. 17 Digital Exclusives image

From helping to set strategic direction to defining new ways of working, here is a look at the responsibilities that leading PMOs are taking on as they evolve for the future. 

Too often, project management offices (PMO) are held back in organizations. Limited to the traditional tasks of governance and compliance, these PMOs are not delivering on their full potential and full value for the organization. 

PMOs of the future will not be able to operate this way. 

“PMOs must be in place to ensure quality execution to align with strategies, and PMO also is responsible for selecting the right way of doing things,” Fiona Lin, VP of the enterprise PMO, agile PMO and business transformation, Snap Finance, Salt Lake City, Utah, said during a recent episode of PMI’s Projectified podcast, What is Ahead for PMOs.  

So, what does this PMO of the future look like? Here are five responsibilities project professionals will need to take on as they evolve beyond their traditional confines. 

1. Have a voice in organizational strategy. 

According to PMI’s PMO Maturity Report, 73% of the Top 10% of PMOs have a C-suite-level role that represents the PMO.  

“It’s quite common to see a PMO get pulled in too late, after the decisions are made,” said Lin. “They should be participating in strategic discussions and planning sessions. Understanding the rationale behind the strategy is important, as a PMO is the glue to bring execution and strategy together.”  

2. Provide oversight across the organization. 

The PMO should provide a clear view across silos of how strategic objectives are being executed and look for challenges and needs that teams are facing. 

R. Rooban Annamalai, PMP, head of portfolio management and PMO lead for the technology group at Christie’s, London, says that the alignment between work streams to achieve a common objective is made possible by the PMO. 

“If you don’t align the strategy within the projects, programs and portfolio, the strategy businesses you are setting up are never going to [be] achieved,” he said. 

3. Drive development for team members. 

The PMO has a role in making sure that teams have the project and leadership skills to meet the needs of the organization. In fact, 69% of top PMOs promote a continuous learning culture, while 64% provide in-house coaching, mentoring, and shadowing. 

“As PMO leaders, we need to have the vision of what our teams can do to offer value, and then go and find the talents that share the same vision and hire the people that have diverse backgrounds and experiences,” said Lin. 

4. Pay attention to team morale. 

Because PMOs interact with individuals and teams across all functions and vertically at all levels, they are positioned to serve as a sounding board, objectively looking at team sentiment and morale. 

“A wise executive team will be leaning on PMO teams to get a good pulse on a team: How are teams doing? How are they feeling? What are the challenges? We need to provide the open door to continue hearing teams,” said Lin. “As leaders, our role needs to be removing the blockers as much as possible.” 

5. Drive new ways of working.  

The Top 10% of PMOs are strong adopters of the latest project and program-level tools, with a focus on technology to enhance a range of functions such as collaboration, visibility, and knowledge sharing. 

“Every company wants to have growth-oriented and adaptive plans to fit into this disruptive environment,” said Annamalai. “So, people have to innovate faster, craft everything quicker and execute or implement with the appropriate approaches in a more effective way.” 

To hear more from Lin and Annamalai, listen to the What is Ahead for PMOs episode of Projectified. 


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