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Project Portfolio Management

Maximizing PMO Value During Economic Uncertainty

Discover 3 tips to drive value when faced with economic challenges

Published By Brandon Harville

In times of economic uncertainty, PMO value is critical.

PMOs don’t just make sure that run-the-business work and projects are completed, they also operationalize the strategic plan. Maximum PMO value ensures the work delivered aligns with company strategy. This helps the organization achieve its desired outcomes and initiatives.

When organizations begin feeling the stress of the current financial climate, business leaders take a hard look at spending. Even once-prized departments can be at risk of budget cuts, abandoned projects, and layoffs.

Certainly, the PMO is not immune. This is why the organization must understand the benefits of having an effective, modern PMO that can deliver value during times of hardship.

Economic downturn doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. The PMO is a valuable asset in planning and executing informed decisions in an unpredictable market.

We’re going to show you why technology is more important than ever to help your organization weather economic uncertainty – and how to maximize PMO value and the benefits of project portfolio management (PPM).

Empower the PMO to Drive Greater Value for the Organization

It’s not always obvious, but it’s in times of crisis when your PMO value becomes clear.

Imagine a future in business where the PMO no longer existed. The repercussions would be unimaginable. That’s because the PMO’s sweet spot is in creating a single line of sight and accelerating benefits realization.

In other words, modern PMOs help navigate turbulent situations where fast-paced decision-making is critical.

Depending on how your PMO operates, you may still be stuck in a reactive state. But with the right PPM solution, you can comfortably shift into a more proactive role. This will enable you to provide business leaders with the up-to-date insights and scenarios they need to make informed strategic decisions that drive the business forward.

Below are three ways to prove your PMO value, even when faced with economic uncertainty.

And it all starts with changing your mindset.

1. Adopt a Modern Mindset

The first step to building your reputation as a valuable strategic partner is embracing a mindset of flexibility and continuous evolution.

That can feel overwhelming – especially if you’re used to working in a certain way that relied on rigor and governance to achieve success.

But by introducing flexibility, you’ll create the conditions for your team to produce better work – and produce it faster than before.

Move away from command-and-control style leadership where team members are constantly seeking approval for deliverables. Instead, aim to create “just enough” structure and streamline governance for teams and “teams of teams” to complete their work efficiently.

Adjusting your relationships outside of the PMO is also important. Make sure to develop strong partnerships with internal and external stakeholders. The key to these partnerships is to build a deep understanding of stakeholders’ goals and their overall vision.

Doing so allows you to confidently respond in real-time to the needs of the business on an ongoing basis – even as those needs and priorities change.

This level of adaptability is essential for keeping up with the speed of business, especially when industries are feeling economic pressure.   

2. Embrace Being an Agile PMO (as in… Business Agility!)

This one is important for maximizing PMO value. Embracing agile methods for greater adaptability in portfolio management (not just work delivery) enables your organization to navigate periods of uncertainty. These are periods where industry and company demands are constantly changing.

  • Drop annual planning for shorter planning and execution cycles
  • Reconsider existing processes that are too rigid and leave little room for flexibility
  • Give teams the freedom to work in a way that enables them to deliver outcomes quickly and consistently

A PMO that adopts an agile mindset will opt for short sprints over annual planning. These sprints typically range from two weeks to a few months.

Sprints give you the flexibility to pivot and make fast-paced decisions to accommodate change from the delivery level, as well as top-down from strategic pivots.

The same can be said for supporting different work delivery. Hybrid, agile, and iterative work methods prevent teams from getting trapped in fixed plans.

The agile mindset becomes especially important in times of economic uncertainty when plans must shift to align with the current reality.

3. Become the Strategic Advisor of Your Organization

The next step in maximizing PMO value is to become your organization’s strategic driver.

The PMO should play an essential role in ensuring the success of your organization’s change management journey. They deliver value by training, coaching, and guiding teams so they’re better equipped to adapt to rapid shifts in the organization – especially as the company responds to the economic landscape.

Once you’ve adopted modern and agile working methods, you’ll want to connect your ongoing work to your company’s overarching vision and strategy. Do this by:

  • Tracking each of your programs, projects, and work against the company’s most important goals. Then measure your progress against the outcomes you hoped to achieve
  • Using just-in-time decision-making by streamlining methods for gathering, processing, and communicating accurate and up-to-date data and insights about your portfolios
  • Finding the right PPM solution to help you understand the progress of your work, in addition to risks and dependencies that might block progress in real-time

This will improve your PMO value by placing you in a better position to anticipate the needs of business leaders. If you understand the reporting and analytics, you can create scenarios and insights needed to adapt to changing plans and disruptions. This will help leaders make better-informed decisions.

That’s where an effective PPM solution furthers your PMO value. Guide leadership through an assessment of your projects and portfolios, and prioritize ongoing work based on the value it brings to the organization.

Let’s look at PMO value in the real world. A leading cloud computing company moved away from inflexible productivity tools such as spreadsheets and presentation slides for reporting.

They optimized their use of Planview’s market-leading PPM solution to create a single source of truth. This enhanced executive decision-making and helped leadership identify and overcome challenges that undermine their value delivery.

Now’s When to Get the Most PMO Value

During times of uncertainty is precisely when your PMO value proposition should be the clearest.

While cutting costs to save today may seem like a good idea, it could cost you down the line. Disbanding the PMO or cutting critical technology, such as project portfolio management solutions, is a short-sighted solution. One which could negatively impact your organization in ways unimaginable.

Now is when your PMO has the greatest opportunity to step up and become the strategic driver of value in your organization. By quickly adapting to changes and keeping projects aligned with company vision and goals, you’ll prove PMO value and help your business weather the storm.

Access Planview’s Project Portfolio Management on-demand demo for today’s Modern PMO to learn more.  Discover how Planview’s PPM solution empowers your organization during times of economic uncertainty by increasing your responsiveness and adaptability, so your portfolio stays aligned with company strategy.

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Brandon Harville Written by Brandon Harville

Brandon is a content strategist at Planview. Before coming aboard, he spent 5 years writing about Agile project management. He truly believes that core values like empathy, communication, and learning from mistakes make Agile more than just a business philosophy--they make Agile principles a life skill.