Category Archives: PMO

The PMO in Times of Change and Transformation

A Project Management Office (PMO) can be found in many organizations today, helping to implement projects in a professional manner. It is important for me to emphasize that a PMO does not take over the management of projects but supports their professional conduct. This can be done by providing standards, methods, and tools to the project managers, advising, coaching, or training project personnel, professionalizing project management through continuous improvement, portfolio planning and control, and much more. A recent study by GPM Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement e.V. shows that more than three-quarters of business projects are implemented internally within organizations. This includes, for example, IT projects, projects with the aim of organizational development, or marketing and sales. The study also shows that 50% of the more than 700 companies surveyed in 2022 stated that they did not have a PMO (compared to 35% ten years earlier). What has happened? Have projects become so routine that company management believes they can do without a PMO? I believe it is much more the case that the line organization has learned to handle projects professionally and needs less and less support from a PMO. Nevertheless, the GPM study also shows that companies with a PMO are significantly more successful (in terms of costs, deadlines, and quality of project results) than companies without a PMO. The question that arises for me, however, is whether PMOs still provide sufficient added value to cope with the growing project landscape in companies. After all, if the number of internal projects is already so high and primarily concerned with change and transformation, then a PMO must also have support services ready for this aspect. And in practice, unfortunately, I still find far too many companies that are relatively weak in this area! Internal projects are “change the business” and have much to do with changes that must first be understood, implemented, and sustainably anchored by the workforce. By “change,” I am referring to smaller, more tactical changes, while “transformation” refers to more strategic, comprehensive changes encompassing large areas or even the entire company. In functionally specialized companies, many employees not only find it difficult to plan and manage projects holistically but also lack expertise in planning and managing change and transformation. This is where a PMO can provide direct support. This can be achieved by building additional resources, skills, methods, and tools in the PMO. This involves strategic, tactical, and operational skills necessary to support change and transformation. The most important ones are briefly outlined below. However, it should also be noted that the PMO only plays a supporting role and that responsibility for change and transformation remains with the respective project or program manager. Before the start of a project, a PMO can work with the project manager to analyze the level of “change readiness” in the affected areas and prepare appropriate measures for the project plan. This also raises the question of whether the change vision and story have already been clarified, i.e., the WHY and WHAT of the change or the need for change in the affected areas. The PMO can support the sponsor or project manager with the appropriate resources, skills, methods, and tools. It is certainly also necessary to develop a change team and a corresponding roadmap. The PMO can support relevant stakeholders with consulting, coaching, or training. It is important to create a professional stakeholder management system with a communication plan that considers stakeholders’ needs throughout the project life cycle regarding information on change and transformation. Here, it is often important to address the reasons for the changes in detail right at the start of a change project and to plan targeted communication and participation opportunities in order to take those affected along on the journey. This is where the PMO can provide support with skills, methods, and tools, take on the moderation of workshops, and help orchestrate measures for project marketing, information, and communication. A community of practice for exchanging experiences in change and transformation, as well as collecting, processing, and distributing lessons learned, are classic PMO tasks, now expanded to include aspects of change and transformation. Do the support tasks for change and transformation have to be provided by a PMO? Not necessarily. An HR department often performs this task. A Change Management Office (CMO) or a Transformation Management Office (TMO) might also be set up for individual change projects. However, this is only temporary, so once the measure has ended, the company’s management runs the risk of losing the know-how and experience, which speaks in favor of anchoring the tasks in a permanent PMO. After all, this is where most of the threads come together when it comes to the professional implementation of projects, so this support task fits in perfectly. However, the PMO must systematically prepare for these tasks and build up the corresponding resources, skills, methods, and tools. The PMO management should emphasize the strategic design of this role because by strengthening change readiness in individual projects and programs, the PMO also contributes to the change readiness of the entire company, connects the company’s overall strategy with the project world, and can thus contribute significantly. This is independent of whether it is a decentralized PMO in a business unit or a centralized Enterprise PMO (E-PMO). Perhaps this additional benefit contribution of a PMO will strengthen its role in the company and prevent the PMO from falling victim to the management’s red pencil during the next wave of cost-cutting. Happy change!

Posted in PMO

What’s Next for PMOs in 2024?

As we get ready for 2024, Project Management Offices (PMOs) have the opportunity of taking or continuing a transformative journey in terms of innovation and adaptability. Many PMOs acknowledge the possibility, but they are stuck in operational issues and need to sort these out before considering something ambitious, as the points listed below. Crafting a blog that discusses what’s next for PMOs in the coming 1-12 months is easy; it follows a predictable timeline. However, formulating a strategy for a more extended period, say 2 to 10 years, introduces a level of unpredictability and complexity. This is where you need a framework like “strategy under uncertainty,” which the founder of AIPMO co-created during his time at a management consulting company in Switzerland. This framework has evolved and been applied to create a PMO Strategy 2030 for a company, an industry, or even a country as you can see in the figure below. “Strategy under uncertainty” framework – to steer the process to create the PMO Vision 2030 The strategy framework took 3 months to develop, including figuring out how to use it, which is not easy. It is intended only for experts in the field who are familiar with using frameworks. Therefore, creating an accurate prediction for 2024 is easy because everything listed below already exists today.  The real question is what each PMO needs to be ready for transformation or to adopt one of the predictions below. This topic is outside the scope of the blog but is covered in the AIPMO courses. Let’s delve into the important shifts that will shape the future of PMOs in the upcoming year, exploring not only the opportunities they offer but also the valuable insights they provide. For the PMOs that can prepare to navigate this landscape, the focus is not just on keeping up but in some cases leading the way. The goal is to ensure that each shift becomes a stepping stone towards a standard of excellence that everyone can understand within the context of the company, industry, or even at a country level. The points below are in no specific order. Increased Integration of Agile and Hybrid Methodologies In 2024, PMOs are set to deepen their commitment to flexible and adaptive project management approaches. The integration of both traditional and Agile methodologies ensures a dynamic framework that caters to a spectrum of project needs, fostering agility and responsiveness. Embracing the concepts of agility not only enhances project adaptability but also nurtures a culture of continuous improvement within PMOs. Tips: Balancing the flexibility of Agile methodologies with the structure of traditional approaches presents a unique opportunity. PMOs can navigate this balance to ensure optimal project outcomes without sacrificing organizational stability. Challenges: The PMO is the methodologies custodian and therefore responsible to understand and evolve project and PMO methodologies to the needs of the organization. Something that is complex and not easy to do. Greater Emphasis on Digital Transformation Digital transformation remains a cornerstone for PMOs in 2024. The adoption of advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning, and data analytics is poised to elevate project outcomes and efficiency. PMOs will harness the power of digital tools to navigate the complexities of the modern project landscape, ensuring they stay at the forefront of technological innovation. Tips: Embracing digital transformation requires overcoming potential resistance to change and ensuring that the entire PMO team is equipped with the necessary skills to leverage emerging technologies effectively. Challenges: Requires a big picture to understand how to design and build the PMO and PPM target operating model. Again, a complex thing to do, but the PMOs and PPM teams should look for external support and use a proven framework and methodology to do so, such as AIPMO’s frameworks. Value-Centric PMOs A paradigm shift towards value-driven PMOs is on the horizon. Beyond overseeing project execution, PMOs in 2024 will ensure that projects align with organizational strategic objectives, delivering tangible benefits that resonate with the core values of the organization. This shift towards value-centricity underscores the importance of aligning projects with broader organizational goals. Tips: Measuring and quantifying the tangible benefits of projects to demonstrate value can be challenging. PMOs can establish robust metrics and evaluation methods to effectively showcase the value they bring to the organization. Challenges: Value-centric or benefits-centric PMOs need to be designed to be able to deliver and measure benefits, value in a consistent way. Unless a structured approach is taken for both, this will prove difficult. Enhanced Use of PMO Dashboards and PPM Tools The prevalence of sophisticated PMO dashboards and PPM tools is expected to soar. Real-time insights and analytics provided by these tools will empower decision-makers within PMOs, enabling better-informed choices for improved project management outcomes. Enhanced tools not only provide insights but also serve as a catalyst for data-driven decision-making within PMOs. Tips: Implementing and integrating new tools seamlessly into existing workflows poses an opportunity. PMOs can manage the transition effectively to minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth adoption process. Challenges: Data and aggregation. If the data is not identified or structured/aggregated in a consistent and repeatable way, then the ability and the insights will be severely reduced. Embracing Adapting to the evolving work landscape, PMOs will continue to embrace and support remote and hybrid work models in 2024. This adjustment reflects the broader shift in work patterns post-pandemic, necessitating innovative collaboration strategies and tools. Embracing and adapting different ways of working not only promotes flexibility but also fosters a culture of trust and collaboration within PMOs. Tips: Successful PMOs adapt and evolve. So, overcoming potential communication barriers and maintaining team cohesion in a virtual or hybrid setting requires strategic planning and the implementation of robust communication channels. Challenges: Select PMO management frameworks, such as AIPMO’s frameworks, that are designed for PMO to adapt and evolve. PMOs that don’t, will find themselves at the lower end of the maturity scales and are the most likely to fail. Expanded Training and Development Recognizing the growing complexity of projects, PMOs will

The Role of Diversity in Driving PMO Excellence

In today’s interconnected world, high-performing PMOs have become a pivotal enabler of organizations. As a consequence, PMOs are no longer limited to isolated departments but span organizations, countries, and cultural backgrounds. This increasing diversity brings its own set of challenges and opportunities. One might wonder: How does diversity impact PMO excellence? The multifaceted nature of PMOs Unlike the siloed structures that have been so often discussed, today’s high-performing PMOs operate in intricate networks. Some of these networks are formal purpose-designed networks whereas others as informal networks that are tactical in nature to bypass organizational bottlenecks. As PMOs extend beyond their immediate units to transcend organizational structures so do their services, and in doing so, they reach out to global teams from varied backgrounds. This collaboration requires understanding, adaptability, and the ability for harnessing diverse perspectives for common project, program, portfolio, and organizational goals. Decoding diversity in PMOs When we mention diversity in PMOs, we’re looking at a range of factors: gender, age, cultural backgrounds, education, and different experiences. These differences play a key role in improving decision-making, encouraging innovation, and boosting the overall efficiency and effectiveness of PMOs and PPM (project portfolio management). But it’s essential to note that just having diversity isn’t enough; it’s how we recognize and use these varied perspectives that truly matters. Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada Projects in global and local settings As projects become increasingly international, they mirror the diversity that we find in our flexible operating environment. They can be in New York one month and Zürich the next, each locale bringing its unique challenges and advantages. The team members might be from different continents, speaking different languages, and observing different cultural norms. In such a landscape, understanding and embracing diversity isn’t just a virtue—it’s a necessity. Link between PMO culture and PMO success Recent research from Alnuaimi and Joslin (2022) offers insights into the impact of PMO culture on success. Their study employing Cameron and Quinn’s culture model, discerned that clan and market culture types have a significant impact on PMO success. For PMOs supporting revenue-generating projects, a market culture orientation is preferable, while the ones that were internally focused echoed clan culture traits. For the everyday practitioner, this translates to a nuanced approach. PMO personnel competences aligning with the culture type that correlates with PMO success. The intersection of culture and diversity Culture and diversity are deeply interconnected concepts, with each influencing the other. Culture refers to the shared values, traditions, and practices of a group, while diversity is the amalgamation of various such groups in a single environment. As different cultural groups interact, they not only contribute unique perspectives, enriching the prevailing culture, but also face potential challenges arising from cultural misunderstandings. However, when there’s a foundation of mutual respect, this intersection becomes a hotbed for innovation, growth, and harmony. Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between culture and diversity is crucial in today’s globalized world. Now focusing on the benefits of diversity in PMOs: Innovation and creativity: A diverse team brings varied perspectives, leading to inspiring approaches with impactful outcomes. Competence pool: A global team brings a gamut of competences, each honed in different professional terrains. Stakeholder relations: Diverse teams can connect better with a global clientele, understanding their unique needs. The ripple effect of diversity is felt beyond immediate project and PMO worlds. It strengthens the company’s brand, lures top talent from diverse backgrounds, and boosts employee satisfaction.                                                        BCG Innovation survey (2017) Tackling challenges head-on However, diversity is not without its challenges. Unconscious biases, cultural misunderstandings, and communication gaps can rear their heads. To truly harness the power of diversity, PMOs must be proactive in the following: Address biases: Regular workshops and training can help in recognizing and addressing unconscious biases. Diverse recruitment: Make efforts to diversify recruitment channels, reaching out to talent from varied backgrounds. Continuous learning: Encourage team members to continually upgrade their cross-cultural competence. From diversity to PMO performance But how do you gauge the impact of diversity on PMO performance? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tailored to measure diversity’s positive influence on project outcomes can be invaluable. Regular feedback loops ensure that the PMO is on the right track, adapting, and evolving with changing project landscapes. In our dynamic business environment, diversity is no longer just a buzzword—it’s a strategic imperative. For PMOs, embracing diversity isn’t about ticking off a checklist. It’s about weaving diverse threads into a cohesive tapestry of excellence. As projects expand their horizons, PMOs must be equipped to navigate the benefits and but also the challenges diversity brings. After all, in diversity lies strength, innovation, and the promise of unparalleled excellence. Something we should all strive towards… Reference Alnuaimi, A., & Joslin, R. (2022). Analyzing the impact of PMO culture on PMO success. The 10th IPMA Research Conference 2022.  

A Guide to Successful PMO Stakeholder Management

“Stakeholder Management” is one of the 22 service domains delineated by AIPMO. While other institutes may refer to this domain by different names, such as “stakeholder engagement” or simply “stakeholders,” it’s appropriately termed a “domain.” Thus, appending the term “management” to “Stakeholder” not only ensures consistency in naming domains in general but also aligns with AIPMO’s categorization of service domains. Stakeholder management plays a crucial role in the success of any initiative, whether it’s a project, program, portfolio, or another endeavor. It involves the application of specific principles, methodologies, and techniques to establish, nurture, and fortify beneficial relationships with stakeholders. Given that stakeholders, whether individual persons or groups, exert significant influence over an initiative’s outcomes, their effective management becomes an indispensable component of ensuring a project’s success. Unengaged sponsor sinks the ship Angela Wagner The Principles of Stakeholder Management Managing stakeholders, irrespective of whether they are internal, client, partner, or a supplier, is one of the most challenging activities associated with a project. Every professional involved in stakeholder management will know of the conflicting agendas, views, and perspectives involved in every discussion and decision taken. Therefore, having a set of guiding principles especially for stakeholder management will help to guide stakeholders in how they understand, communicate, and interact with others. The following principles have been identified and those that provide the greatest impact in this domain. Stakeholder management principles are from AIPMO’s PMO Services and Capabilities book (2022). Big Picture: Grasping the holistic context of organizational endeavors empowers a comprehensive perspective on stakeholder involvement. Scenario Thinking: In a landscape marked by numerous simultaneous endeavors, scenario thinking guides the selection of optimal strategies. Challenge: To ensure alignment among interconnected endeavors, the principle of challenge is vital in selecting the most advantageous course. Exemplar: Setting a credible example builds trust and reinforces the effectiveness of stakeholder recommendations. Transparency: Clear communication and openness form the bedrock of strong stakeholder relationships. Clarity: Precise thinking and solutions prevent ambiguity in stakeholder interactions. Simplicity: Complexity is minimized wherever possible to streamline effective stakeholder engagement. Why These Principles? Understanding the overarching landscape is crucial as stakeholders extend across diverse initiatives. In a dynamic landscape of various scenarios, the ability to challenge and select optimal paths maintains alignment. The interconnected nature of initiatives necessitates the challenge of choosing the most cohesive strategy. Leading by example establishes credibility, fostering trust in stakeholder recommendations. Strong stakeholder relationships are underpinned by clear communication and transparency. Precise thinking and solutions prevent ambiguity in stakeholder interactions, while simplifying complexity enhances effective communication and engagement. A 360-degree view of stakeholders: past to present with a view to the future (from: AIPMO’s PMO Services and Capabilities book, 2022) Referring to the above figure, people who are in the organization over a longer period of time such as a PMO versus a consultant are more likely to have a 360-degree view of project stakeholders and therefore be forewarned of potential team or stakeholder issues. Tips and Tricks for Successful Stakeholder Management Successful stakeholder management is indeed multifaceted, and it often requires a blend of both art and science. Here’s a more expanded list of tips and tricks for effective stakeholder management: People-Centric Approach: Stakeholder management isn’t just about processes and tools—it’s about people. Focus on shared values, culture, and building genuine relationships to foster trust and mutual respect. Organizational Principles: Every organization has its ethos and values. Ensure that your stakeholder management aligns with and upholds these principles, especially if you’re within a Project Management Office (PMO) context. Common Values: Identify shared values among stakeholders. These can act as a foundation for collaboration and mutual understanding. Engage Customer Teams: Stakeholder management shouldn’t be a one-team effort. Engage with customer teams and train them to ensure a comprehensive approach. GDPR and Data Protection: Always be cautious about personal data. Ensure that stakeholder data is managed with privacy considerations, particularly within contexts governed by GDPR or other data protection regulations. Strive for Win-Win Outcomes: Look for solutions that benefit all stakeholder groups. This creates a harmonious environment and reduces potential conflicts. Balance Personal and Professional Goals: Understand the personal and professional aspirations of stakeholders. Tailoring your approach to meet both these aspirations can create a more cooperative environment. Regular Communication: Keeping stakeholders informed reduces surprises and builds trust. Establish a regular cadence of communication tailored to each stakeholder’s preference. Feedback Loop: Create a mechanism for stakeholders to provide feedback. This helps in continuous improvement and demonstrates that you value their input. Flexibility: Every stakeholder is unique, with different needs and perspectives. Be flexible in your approach, adapting your strategies and tactics as needed. Prioritize Stakeholders: Not all stakeholders have the same influence or interest. Use tools like a power/interest grid to help prioritize your stakeholder engagement efforts. Document and Review: Document all stakeholder communications and regularly review them. This will help in tracking commitments, understanding stakeholder sentiment over time, and ensuring you’re on track. Remember, the essence of stakeholder management lies in understanding people, their motivations, and their constraints, and then working collaboratively towards shared goals. To gain a service-oriented view of stakeholder management, refer to the PMO Services and Capabilities book For further reading on the topic, refer to the following: Bourne, L. (2016). Stakeholder relationship management: A maturity model for organisational implementation. CRC Press. Markiewicz, A., & Patrick, I. (2015). Developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Sage Publications. Minoja, M. (2012). Stakeholder management theory, firm strategy, and ambidexterity. Journal of Business Ethics, 109(1), 67–82. O’Riordan, L. (2017). Managing sustainable stakeholder relationships. Springer Verlag. Furjanic, S. W., & Trotman, L. A. (2000). Turning training into learning: How to design and deliver programs that get results. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. Harward, D., Taylor, K., & Hall, R. (2014). What makes a great training organization?: A handbook of best practices. Pearson Education. Eskerod, P., & Jepsen, A. L. (2016). Project stakeholder management. Routledge. Stakeholder Management: 50 Quick and Easy Ways to Become Brilliant at Project Stakeholder Management, by Bryan Barrow Practical Project Stakeholder Management: Methods, Tools and Templates for Comprehensive Stakeholder Management, by Emanuela Giangregorio, 2nd edition.

Kingdom of PMOs: Steering Saudi Arabia Towards Vision 2030

In an era where the world is gradually moving away from traditional energy sources, Saudi Arabia stands at a defining juncture. Having been historically dependent on the petroleum sector since the discovery of oil in 1945, the Kingdom faces a transformative crossroads. Mid- to long-term global demand for oil will decrease as we move onto sustainable energies. The need to move is driven by the need to save the planet from global warming as well as make it a better environment to live in. With a population of 37 million and financial reserves that may only last another twenty years, Saudi Arabia has set out on an ambitious path with Vision 2030. This vision aims to reshape the Kingdom, fueled by an intricate and highly structured system of Project Management Offices (PMOs). The Need for Change: A Comprehensive Vision Saudi Arabia’s need for transformation is not merely an economic reform; it’s a holistic endeavor encapsulating social, cultural, and technological development. The Kingdom’s long-term investment in education, with 220,000 Saudi students studying abroad, lays the groundwork for future leadership, a key pillar in realizing the multifaceted objectives of Vision 2030. A visual key to Riyadh’s economic transformation plan, MEED (2016) PMO Topology: The Intersection of Ambition and Execution Saudi Arabia’s PMO topology is considered a global benchmark, with organizations like VRP, SAGIA, SASO, SMEA, MCI, and a myriad of project and program PMOs interwoven into a complex yet highly efficient network. Each plays a pivotal role in steering the Kingdom’s future, with a strong emphasis on governance and stakeholder engagement. The Vision 2030 alignment with an impressive list of megaprojects, such as NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Amaala, and Diriyah Gate, to name a few, reflects the Kingdom’s far-reaching goals. Every one of these megaprojects is guided by dedicated PMOs in the sectors, regions, and departments, all ensuring alignment with Vision 2030 and translating high-level goals into actionable realities. It’s more than mere coordination; it’s a synchronized approach of oversight and execution, creating tangible results that contribute to both the success of individual projects and the broader Vision 2030. The Future of PMOs in Saudi Arabia: An Evolving Landscape Saudi Arabia’s PMOs are a testament to flexibility and innovation. Designed to adapt, evolve, and align with global trends, they are more than project overseers; they are agents of socio-economic transformation. By enhancing everything from job creation to technological innovation and cultural preservation, PMOs in Saudi Arabia transcend traditional roles, becoming the embodiment of Vision 2030’s complexity and ambition. A Nation Reimagined At the heart of Vision 2030 is NEOM, the astonishing and carbon neutral city being built along the Red Sea Coast in northern Saudi Arabia. It has been described as the Kingdom’s “new oil.” Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is more than a roadmap; it’s a living, breathing entity that marks the Kingdom’s transition from an oil-reliant past to a diversified, vibrant future. The intricate alignment of education, megaprojects, and the world’s most structured PMO topology is not just a plan on paper; it’s a tangible reality shaping Saudi Arabia’s destiny. In this “Kingdom of PMOs,” the harmonious convergence of every element creates a robust and dynamic framework, reimagining what a modern nation can aspire to be. Saudi Arabia’s bold transition is setting a global example, a compelling demonstration that with clear vision, strategic planning, and diligent execution, profound transformation is not just possible but achievable. The Kingdom of PMOs is a living testament to Saudi Arabia’s past, present, and promising future.