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 place heightened emphasis on continuous learning and development. Tailored learning pathways will be crafted to equip PMOs, project managers, and teams with the skills and knowledge essential for navigating the evolving project management landscape. Prioritizing training not only enhances individual capabilities but also ensures the collective success of the PMO.

Tips: Identifying individual training needs and customizing learning pathways for diverse team members can be an opportunity. PMOs can create personalized development plans that cater to the unique requirements of each team member. Look at the certification authorities that take a PMO or Project team member and supports them to grow to the C level of organization. This is terms of width and breath which is what AIPMO has developed over the past 8 years. Developing PMO as a profession.

Challenges: Selecting the PMO authority that is focused on knowledge and practice and not just awards will allow you to grow. Selecting a PMO authority that is not focused on growing their members in terms of learning pathways is likely to put you in a cull de sac.

Rise of PMO as a Service (PMaaS)

Some organizations will opt for PMO as a Service models in 2024, outsourcing specific PMO service to external providers. This strategic move aims to gain efficiency and scalability while focusing on core organizational competencies. The rise of PMO as a Service reflects a shift towards a more modular and scalable approach to project management within organizations.

Tips: Integrating external PMO services seamlessly with internal processes and maintaining a cohesive project management strategy poses an opportunity. PMOs can establish clear communication channels and collaboration frameworks with external providers.

Challenges: There are many challenges implementing this, especially as outsourced PMO or part of the PMO requires a service management mindset. This needs to be looked at carefully, just as considering using fast tracking or crashing on a project. Often it does not work and its predictable as well (if your experienced). 

Increased Use of AI and Automation

AI and automation will take center stage within PMOs, handling routine tasks and freeing up project managers to focus on more strategic elements. The integration of AI aims to enhance efficiency and streamline decision-making processes. Increased use of AI and automation not only improves operational efficiency but also positions PMOs as pioneers in leveraging cutting-edge technology for project management.

Tips: Addressing concerns related to job displacement and ensuring that the human element in project management is not compromised poses an opportunity. PMOs can foster a culture that sees AI and automation as complements rather than substitutes to human capabilities.

Challenges: Giving over control to AI is similar to a project manager giving control to consultants and no longer in control of a project. This is a very powerful tool and beneficial in the hands of an experienced person, and dangerous for those with little to no experience – Just like a high performance sports car.

More Strategic Portfolio Management

PMOs will play an expanded role in strategic portfolio management, ensuring alignment between the portfolio of projects and programs with strategic business goals. This shift emphasizes the importance of a cohesive and well-aligned project portfolio. Strategic portfolio management not only maximizes project value but also positions the PMO as a strategic partner in organizational success.

Tips: Balancing the diverse needs and priorities of individual projects within the portfolio while ensuring alignment with overarching strategic goals poses an opportunity. PMOs can implement robust portfolio management practices to navigate this complexity effectively.

Challenges: The PMO operating model needs to be designed and evolved. Just stating more strategic portfolio management without considering the rest of the PMO operating model is risky. Bring in experts who know how to carry out current state assessments of the PPM and PMO management environment and then design a PMO target operating model (TOM) so it is fit for purpose.

Globalization of Teams

PMOs will oversee more globally distributed teams, necessitating new strategies and tools for cross-cultural collaboration and communication. In 2024, effective communication and collaboration across borders will be integral to project success. The globalization of teams requires PMOs to be adept at fostering a cohesive global team culture while leveraging innovative collaboration technologies.

Tips: Managing cultural differences and ensuring effective communication across geographically dispersed teams poses an opportunity. PMOs can implement strategies and tools that promote inclusivity and cross-cultural understanding.

Challenges: Based on AIPMO’s academic research, PMOs that are inward-facing have more of a clan culture, whereas PMOs that are more outward (client-facing) lean towards a market culture (Alnuaimi & Joslin, 2022). There is a need for a cultural shift for most of the PMOs that operate in a global environment.

Certifications that Provide a Career Path

In a departure from ad-hoc certifications, PMO professionals will increasingly pursue certifications that offer a structured career path. These comprehensive certification programs will guide professionals through various proficiency levels, ensuring continuous growth and relevance. Investing in certifications not only validates individual expertise but also contributes to the strategic development of the PMO.

Tips: Advancing PMO standards, creating, and implementing a comprehensive certification program that aligns with the evolving needs of PMO professionals poses an opportunity. PMOs, in collaboration with AIPMO, can ensure that certification paths are robust, relevant, and contribute to the overall growth of the team.

Challenges: Seeing through the marketing of some PMO authorities and understanding what their certifications are really based on. For example, do you want to get a certification that is based on ideas from 2008, from a couple of people, or the latest thinking and research from today that is valid and globally applicable? Ask the question.

Formal Benchmarks for PMO Performance

PMOs will actively seek formal benchmarks to assess their performance and determine their business impact. This results-oriented approach allows PMOs to showcase their effectiveness in delivering tangible value to the organization. Establishing formal benchmarks ensures accountability and provides a clear roadmap for continuous improvement within PMOs.

Tips: Defining and implementing meaningful performance benchmarks that accurately measure the diverse contributions of the PMO poses an opportunity. PMOs can ensure that benchmarks align with organizational goals and reflect the holistic impact of their activities.

Challenges: Do not use P3M3, OPM3, or PMO maturity cube for any PMO benchmarking as they are either not design to measure PMO maturity or they are woefully inadequate (research from a PhD). There is only one PMO maturity model and impact model that has been specially designed from empirical evidence, ie, the research findings of a PhD.

PMOs as Governance in a Combined Operating Model

A trend towards a combined operating model will see governance seamlessly integrated into PMO operations. This holistic approach aims to amplify organizational value and impact by ensuring that governance is inherent in every aspect of project management. The integration of governance within the operating model solidifies the PMO’s role as a strategic driver of organizational success.

Tips: Integrating governance seamlessly into PMO operations requires a cultural shift and a reevaluation of existing processes. PMOs can address potential resistance and ensure that governance becomes a natural part of everyday project management practices.

Challenges: PMOs that are called by PMI Directive – have an inherent issue with governance. This is because they define governance and well as doing the work. In Europe, this type of PMO is not formally accepted. There is a way to mitigate the governance issues but only through the careful design of a PMO target operating model.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the opportunities for PMOs in 2024 is exciting as it is every year except AI will come into its own, the understand and frameworks to guide PMOs in the future will be better understood with books like the PMO management standard is released.

AIPMO envisions this 2024 as a year to understand and build a flexible PMO Operating model to capitalize on innovation, adaptability, and excellence.

By embracing these trends strategically and implementing the provided tips, PMOs can position themselves not merely as responders to change but as proactive leaders shaping the future of PPM management.

Reference

Alnuaimi, A., & Joslin, R. (2022). Analyzing the impact of PMO culture on PMO success.  The 10th IPMA Research Conference 2022.

Author

  • AIPMO

    AIPMO is the Association of International Project Management Officers, founded in 2015.