999, My PMO is having an identity crisis

999, My PMO is having an identity crisis

Before I jump in to the details, I wanted to follow the lead of every great article out there with a…. disclaimer, of course! My disclaimer is that I spent the weekend with my 2-year old niece, who might have inspired the ensuing game of “Guess who”!

Now with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get playing…

  1. I’m made up of a team of people responsible for monitoring project and program delivery management within an organisation. Senior people in the organisation tell me what I need to do to support the business’s agenda and I get the job over the line. If I’m really good, I manage to do it within budget and on time. Although, I don’t actually measure the outputs of my work nor ever dream to question decision-makers in the business. Who am I?

If you guessed a Portfolio/ Programme/ Project Management Office (PMO) then you’re spot on.

  1. I’m made up of a team of people who are multi-disciplined. We also do as we are told by senior management in our organisation. We are made up of administrators, co-ordinators and analysts that develop templates, prepare slide decks, collect and collate data, update project status reports and provide meeting support, but if you were to ask the organisation’s senior leadership what we do, they’d probably be as confused as you right about now! But take a shot, who am I?

If you guessed a Portfolio/ Programme/ Project Management Office again, then you’re way better at playing ‘Guess who’ than my niece!  

  1. We are specialists that work with C-suite executives to understand their business’s pain points and future goals and ambitions. We help them cope with the ever-changing business landscape, crafting bespoke solutions that don’t just address their needs for the right now, but also equip them to bend and flex as their business needs keep evolving. We are made up of project managers, business analysts, data specialists, change and communications consultants and process experts. Guess who we are?

If you guessed PMO again and added the adage ‘of today’, then you’re really on the money. Of course, if you guessed ‘Transformation Office’ (TO), then you’re not only on the money, but also down with the cool kids. 

Where am I going with this? Basically, it doesn’t matter what your version of PMO stands for (portfolio management office or programme management office or a project management office or even a transformational office) – what matters is if your PMO has evolved to cater to the changing needs of the business.  

Studies show that only 33% of PMOs reach their potential of delivering value to the organisation and perhaps more alarming is the fact that over 50% of PMOs fail in their first three years of existence. In PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the Profession™, it was reported that organizations that undervalue the function, risk US$135 million (approx. £101.8 million) for every US$1 billion (approx. £754 million) spent on projects.

It’s clearly a lose-lose if an organisation doesn’t invest in the right PMO capabilities and similarly if the PMO make no effort to get out of the back-office!

At RedWizard, we decided early on to break out of the mould and not surprisingly, whether we referred to ourselves as a PMO or a TO was of little to no importance to our clients. The fact that we are a team of specialists with complimentary skillsets capable of delivering bespoke strategic solutions that marry process, governance, data, communications and technology in line with their business needs and therein drive tangible value for them is what has kept us at the C-suite table instead of in the back-office.

Changing perceptions through our capabilities and being regarded as a trusted advisor has not been smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination, but it has enabled us to continue successful partnerships with our clients as we help them navigate their way through their business transformation journey beyond the typical 3-year lifespan of many PMOs This coupled with the Everest Report ranking our solution for one of our current clients – a global pharmaceutical company – in the top 5% of strategic PMO talent solutions confirms that our new approach to the function is not only being valued by our clients but also setting a benchmark in the industry.

To find out more about what this involved and learn more about our other client success stories, hop on over to our portfolio: http://redwizard.consulting/portfolio/

References:

https://www.isg-one.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/why-are-pmos-failing.pdf?sfvrsn=0

https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/pmo-strategy-implementation.pdf

March, 2019