The 12 most common concerns businesses have when considering PMO outsourcing

Decisions, decisions! Our lives are full of them and there’s always an element of risk involved.

But ultimately, risk is merely the likelihood of an event occurring that may have some sort of impact—it may be negative, positive or nothing at all. But…how you approach it can have a real impact on your business.

In our recent article, ‘How to successfully outsource your PMO with positive risk-taking’, Jools Barrow-Read, gets to the root of why so many businesses fear outsourcing their PMO, even when they’re failing!

“Outsourcing your PMO may be the best thing for your business. The only way to be sure is to change the conversation. Start looking at the positive risks, ask the right questions, and understand the facts before building a PMO partnership.” Jools Barrow-Read

We want to change the mindset around risk, encouraging businesses to take stock and calculate risk rather than avoid it. This approach is a positive way to ensure you make the right decisions when PMO outsourcing is on the table.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common concerns businesses have when considering PMO outsourcing—with negative and positive risk in mind.

1. I might lose control over my PMO

Negative risk: Handing over the PMO reins can cause feelings of anxiety and fear. You’ve spent time building the business case for your PMO and gathering support.  Now you are about to place your trust in people you don’t know.

Positive risk: Handing over the PMO reins will be a relief and will open up new opportunities. It will allow you to focus on other important initiatives and business objectives. You will build new long-lasting relationships with PMO experts built on trust. The right PMO partner will ensure you maintain ownership and control.  They will help you stay connected to developments without having to get involved in every little detail.

2. It will be too difficult for an external PMO to build and grow relationships with key stakeholders

Negative risk: You’ve established a good relationship with your stakeholders already. They trust you to get the job done. Bringing an ‘unknown’ into the mix may create uncertainty. If you keep pushing forward, at least you know what to expect, right?

Wrong… avoiding risk and staying in your comfort zone is often not the best approach. If you’re considering outsourcing your PMO, it’s for a reason. Perhaps your internal team don’t have all the necessary skills, you’re under pressure to deliver to tight deadlines whilst also managing other core work. Over time, the cracks will begin to show.

Positive risk: You’ve done all the hard work and gained the trust of your key stakeholders. This means, they value your decision making. If you feel partnering with an external PMO is right for your business, it probably is. As long as you partner with a PMO service that is customer-centric and believes in building long-lasting relationships, you’ll get buy-in from your key stakeholders. Not only that, once they start to see all the benefits from increased project delivery efficiency to cost reduction, your own relationship with them will grow even stronger.

3. The internal PMO team will feel like they’re losing ownership

Negative risk: Your internal team may feel unsettled. They may be concerned that an external PMO partner will swoop in and take full control, have a completely different agenda, or take credit for all their hard work!

Positive risk: The team will learn new skills from PMO experts—empowering them for the future. A good PMO partner will build solid relationships with the team, work collaboratively and fit in with your business culture. They’ll never work in silo. They’ll work to create one team—any success will, and should, be shared by all!

4. My team might stop taking ownership and accountability

Negative risk: You worry your team will no longer take ownership or accountability because they feel threatened by an external PMO partner.

Positive risk: Change is difficult, but it’s necessary for growth. A good external PMO will understand that people are the most important asset in any business. They’ll know how to build a collaborative working environment—one built on trust.

5. You won’t be building capability internally

Negative risk: If you don’t build internal capabilities, it will be difficult to take over the management of the PMO once the external PMO services are complete.

Positive risk: Your people will have a team of PMO experts working alongside them—providing them with an opportunity to develop and learn new skills. A good external PMO will ensure they’re training and building internal capabilities along the way, so you’re well placed to take over once the work is complete.

6. What works now may not work in the future

Negative risk: Once an external PMO completes a service agreement, they’ll no longer be responsible. If something goes wrong down the road, you’ll be held accountable.

Positive risk: A good PMO partner understands how important it is to build scalable and flexible solutions that stand the test of time. And, because they believe in building strong and long-lasting relationships, they’ll always be there to offer support and guidance—even once a service agreement is complete.

7. Will cause trust issues and stress to internal people

Negative risk: You’ve seen first-hand how change can cause a loss of trust and enormous stress for internal staff. This is something you’d like to avoid at all costs.

Positive risk: In order to grow and develop, every business must change if they want to remain competitive in their industry. It can’t be avoided. But… a good PMO partner will have a proven track record of dealing with change and will ensure they merge with the company culture, and build trust with internal people. How? They should understand that trust is built when a PMO partner is human, authentic and open. They must place people at the centre of everything they do.

8. External consultants lack awareness of business objectives and operations

Negative risk: You don’t have time to bring a group of external PMO experts up to speed. There’s so much to learn and understand about the business, it will take weeks for them to really understand fully the business objectives and operations. And time is money!

Positive risk: A good PMO partner will have cross-industry experience. They’ll have sat at the strategy table many times and be well placed to partner with any business. Their external perspective will enhance and strengthen your strategic plan.

9. Exposing sensitive company information – risk of data breach

Negative risk: The risk of a data breach could have a very negative impact on your business, particularly if sensitive information is leaked. You know that data breaches may be caused by parties external to the business, and this is a worry.

Positive risk: A good external PMO partner takes security very seriously and will ensure they comply with the relevant security standards and regulations.

10. Reliability and accountability of outcomes

Negative risk: You’ve a lot on the line and aren’t sure you can trust an external PMO.

Positive risk: A good PMO will always be accountable and will be there when you need them—even after the work has been done. That’s what providing a good customer experience is all about! You’ll end up with a relationship built on trust with experts you can count on.

11. What if they’re not the right fit for our company culture

Negative risk: Bringing a PMO partner on-board might not work. They may have different values and priorities. What if they don’t fit in? It may cause more problems than solutions.

Positive risk: Bringing in the right PMO partner will work as long as they take the time to immerse themselves—learning and understanding your business values, mission, vision, goals and objectives. A good PMO service will study your business strategy, and seamlessly merge with your internal team.

12. Cost of outsourcing

Negative risk: Bringing a PMO service on-board is risky. They may not have the necessary skills and knowledge to back up their promises. Or, their business model may be flawed or outdated. This can be costly in the long run.

It’s important that all PMO services continue to research, learn, collaborate and grow or they’ll be left behind—you need to feel secure that your PMO is not only on-top of new industry insights but leading industry experts!

Positive risk: Partnering with the right PMO service may cost less than you think, particularly if you consider the indirect costs of recruiting and training PMO resources directly to build your own internal team.  Having a team of PMO experts with a proven approach means you’ll start to see success immediately.

Many PMO service providers will work on a fixed price or milestone-based pricing, providing a great deal of transparency into what you’ll get for your money.  They’ll also be working to approved service level agreements (SLA) with penalties for missed metrics – something you won’t have with an internal team.


We’re RedWizard, the missing piece. We’re confident we can perfect your PMO. If you’d like to book a free telephone consultation just send us an email, it’s as simple as that!

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August, 2019