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Brave New Digital World Requires PMOs to Be More Agile

Brave New Digital World Requires PMOs to Be More Agile

Today’s PMO leaders are in the hot seat. With the changes digital business is bringing, PMOs are increasingly being challenged by executives to become more flexible, more scalable in getting work done and more involved in ensuring that projects deliver actual value. In fact, Gartner cites “Failure to Be Agile and Deliver Value” as the first “sin” in their insightful report, How to Avoid the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ of a Level 2 PMO.

PMOs typically get started because their organizations are not delivering projects in a predictable way. Their charter is to bring structure, methodology and governance. In fact, more than half of the 200+ PMOs that responded to a study from earlier this year indicated their primary goal is delivering projects on-time and on-budget.

PPM Landscape Study 2017

Becoming agile, flexible and going faster, seems contradictory to many of the very things that made the PMO successful. No wonder PMOs today are not always entirely sure of what they are supposed to become or what is expected of them.

But does this mean they should leave behind predictable, repeatable delivery of projects? Of course not. However, PMOs need to avoid getting bogged down in methodology and process, being perceived as bureaucratic, resulting in missed opportunities. One of the keys to becoming agile is a mindset shift from methodology to successful outcomes.

This mindset shift can come through taking an outside-in approach and asking stakeholders questions such as:

  • What are our strategic objectives?
  • What do our customers need?
  • How do we prioritize for value?
  • Are our resources working on the right work?
  • How do we help our teams execute work?
  • Did we achieve our objectives?

These questions will guide any PMO into the right conversations and start to shift perception from tactical to strategic. PMOs need to act on answering these questions by taking an agile approach to both planning and execution.

  • Build agility into planning – Think of portfolio management as a cycle where you can iterate regularly, revisit assumptions with stakeholders, and adjust priorities and focus resources to reflect actual progress and changes in market forces.
  • Find the right approach for the work: Become an advocate for the best work type – whether traditional project, Agile, collaborative or iterative – for the outcome to be achieved, rather than enforce adherence to a methodology.

No matter if your PMO is in an early stage or established, it’s essential to have agility for the faster pace required for today’s digital businesses.

Ready to optimize your PMO for value? Learn more from very popular report, How to Avoid the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ of a Level 2 PMO by Donna Fitzgerald, Gartner. Act fast, only available until Feb 28, 2018.

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Linda Roach
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Linda Roach brings 17 years of experience in product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing to her role as Vice President of Marketing for Planview. Upon joining the company in 2004, Linda led the launch of Planview Enterprise, repositioning the company from a single product to a highly successful multiple product line. Prior to joining Planview, Linda held management positions at Pervasive Software, VTEL Corporation, and Kodak where she led go-to-market initiatives covering new products, product line expansion, and opening new market segments. Linda holds a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has participated in Executive Education programs at the University of Michigan, Wharton School, and University of Texas at Austin. @lindaroach (Linda Roach on Twitter)