Today’s Program Management Office faces challenges at every angle. From new technologies and environmental factors to shifting business strategies and changing customer expectations, PMOs need to upgrade to keep up. Learn a few tips for making the shift in this blog.
Last year may have been unprecedented, but there’s one thing we saw coming: an accelerated pace of change. While no one was expecting to have to become digital within just a few months (if not weeks), there were already signs that businesses needed transformations.
To start, changing customer expectations, mass digitization and newer, faster competition were already on almost everyone’s radar. Change is becoming the new standard, forcing organizations to rethink not only their business strategy but also how they transform to meet and deliver on that business strategy.
In fact, according to one study, 67 percent of business strategies don’t work because of a failure to enact end-to-end strategy execution. To avoid this fate, you need to realign, deliver and gain value from your company’s project portfolios. That means embracing enterprise program management (EPM) as a strategic business capability — one facilitated by agile portfolio, program and project management to execute the strategy from end-to-end and realize business value.
The first step in embracing EPM as a capability lies in evolving your project management office (PMO). Today’s PMOs need to be agile themselves, focused on business outcomes and the organization’s overall strategy. An evolved PMO will play a critical role in ensuring your company is ready for any change the world throws at it.
Imagining a New Project Management Office
Many of today’s companies face unclear business strategies, confusion over their overall objectives, and constrained support from senior executives. What most companies do know, however, is they’ll need more project managers to help as they:
- Take on more projects related to enhanced and emerging technologies, and
- Transition to operating models primarily focused on product-based work.
In fact — according to Gartner — 50 percent of large companies will have integrated their separate IT and business PMOs into enterprise program management office (EPMO) “hubs” to help facilitate business transformation.
As a result, PMOs must transform so they can drive new initiatives aligned to your company’s evolving business strategies. They must stop delivering control and start supporting everything from strategy and financial planning to business value realization.
But how do you ensure they’re effective? Your new PMO must have the agency to review changes, adapt as needed to provide value, and adopt new skillsets to help your organization execute its strategy. Here are just a few ways you can start:
1. Bring on the EPMO
An EPMO can provide your organization with a point of view independent of the rest of the company on how to implement companywide changes. It can help ensure organizational alignment and that projects follow through with new processes and operations, and the EPMO can maintain and encourage collaboration across teams.
As you bring on the EPMO, there are two essential things to remember:
- You need an executive-level position to head the EPMO to guarantee its role in strategy.
- Your EPMO needs the right techniques, tools and empowerment to make data part of your company’s overall story.
2. Enable EPM Capabilities
Your new PMO and EPMO need to adopt modern-day EPM capabilities to ensure your organization is ready for anything. This means assessing their operating models to determine if they can support such capabilities. For example, to ensure consistency and a significant impact across your organization, contemplate centralizing your delivery project and program oversight in a single organization or hub.
Another EPM capability includes creating new decision-making criteria, including time- and value-based measures, when prioritizing the enterprise portfolio. Ask yourself, “How urgent is one initiative versus another? What will the impact be of a particular project as we balance the enterprise portfolio?”
3. Facilitate Collaboration and Cross-Team Accountability
Lastly, as you upgrade your PMO, you need to identify which behaviors need to change not only in that team but also across the organization. Now that your program and project leaders are no longer delivering control and becoming more strategic, they need to model behaviors others must embrace as well. Adopting a culture of agility can help.
It’s time to create new relationships across the organization. Not only should your PMO help unite siloed delivery teams, but it should also have the ability to collaborate with other leaders. The PMO should coordinate and protect projects as needed.
To ensure both collaboration and accountability, your PMO should also have access to metrics and reporting tools to demonstrate cross-team accountability between business and IT.
Your company must be more iterative and agile than ever before, thanks to changing customer expectations, shifts in the market — and yes, the pandemic. Don’t leave your project, program and portfolio management projects out of your transformation.
Because after all, you can have the greatest strategy in the world. But if your company cannot deliver on it, it’s useless. Take steps to reinvent your PMO and watch your strategy become a reality.