PMO Careers, Demonstrating Value and Bringing Agile out of the Basement: A report on p3mg’s first PMO Roundtable.
By Ray Mead, CEO, p3m global
On 30th June we at p3m global hosted our inaugural PMO Roundtable event at Brown’s Hotel in London. The format, where attendees set their own agenda under Chatham House rules, has been very popular for some time with our Australian sister company and I’m pleased to report a similar experience here in the UK.
The conversation was lively, informed and centred around several key themes: PMO as an emerging career choice, the lack of investment in genuine PMOs and, finally, the rise of Agile and the need for ‘multimodal’ governance.
The first two are easily summarised. We have seen, when working with our clients on the development of P3M career pathways, that working in a PMO is increasingly popular with project managers as they plan their career paths. For some it offers a different perspective, a big picture view that enhances their appreciation of good governance. For some, it is a route into portfolio management and others again see it as a career path in its own right. This is to be welcomed and we at p3mg have certainly been at the forefront of this, developing with our clients, PMO-specific competencies and training programmes that are not found amongst the main PM standards. A voice of experience did remind us, however, that the competencies required in PMO set up are not necessarily the same as those required to run it, so a ‘PMO life cycle’ requires careful resource planning.
The lack of investment in PMOs is more worrying and comes back to the perennial inability of PMOs to demonstrate their value, both to the business and to the PM community they serve. All too often we, as consultants, are called in to ‘rescue’ a PMO that has fallen into one of the classic traps of over-reliance on compliance or the pathologically blunt implementation of an enterprise PPM tool. Interestingly, one of our participants who had recently set up a PMO had deliberately left compliance out of its remit and had seen the resulting benefits through the positive engagement levels of the PMs. Other solutions offered by the participants where to ensure that financial data (and finance people) were at the heart of PMO activity. If the PMO can demonstrate a positive impact in financial terms, said one participant, it will win more friends at the executive level. A word of caution was then added by p3mg’s Conor Gourley who reminded the team that, as demonstrated in our very own research, the most successful PMOs were found to report into a strategic function, not a financial one.
Finally, a subject close to my own heart, how do PMOs that have spent the last 10 years gaining control and encouraging predictability deal with the rise of agile? The answer, according to the group, lies in moving away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ governance approach and moving toward a new, evolved understanding of P3M maturity; one that adopts the right governance style for the right initiative. Bimodal is too simplistic – multimodal is the future.
Again, this is certainly the direction we are seeing in the market as we undertake agile transformation programmes with our clients.
It was perhaps fitting that the Roundtable took place in the very room at Brown’s where Alexander Graham Bell first used his ‘telephone’ in the UK. There was a distinct connection made between practitioners, consultants and academics who came together to tackle issues facing us all but they came from different perspectives. If you would like to participate in future PMO Roundtable events or suggest future topics for us to address, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to hear from you.
Alignment of Projects with company strategy and business objectives
Enhanced Effectiveness in Delivering Services
Improved Growth and Development within your Project Management Teams
Greater Standing and Competitive Edge
Increased Risk Assessment, Strengthened Quality Control and Overall Quantity of Delivered Projects
But what about the impact that effective project management can have on a company’s P&L? I believe this is a point that is often overlooked, and has become a source of contention about the justification of PMOs and their direct impact on the business. According to recent statistics, the average life-span of PMOs has regressed to just four years due to executive management’s perception (rightly or wrongly justified) about their direct impact on business results and business objectives.
Long story short… Effective Project Management can have a direct impact on:
Revenue (from service delivery projects)
Direct Cost of Sales (effective deployment and pricing of service delivery resources)
Indirect Cost of Sales (effective deployment of project management outsourcing / subcontracting)
Operating Expenses (effective mix of in-house project management resources, and outsourced project management resources in times of excessive demand to deliver projects)
CAPEX (ROI from capital asset project expenditures can be substantially increased through effective project, programme, and portfolio management)
What are your thoughts? Is the impact of effective project management on P&L and Balance Sheet transparent in your company?
We look, in our client engagements, to ensure that with increasing organisational maturity levels, Programme Offices, or PMOs, are fully integrated in the organisation, not only as project approving, monitoring, and executing bodies; but as functionaries & change architects / agents, as a catalyst and source of “out of the box thinking”. It is an extended arm of the executive committee for strategy execution, and the arm of an organization that wants to have a direct impact on business results & objectives. We help our clients implement project management globally or locally across the organization thereby creating a strategic value chain that enhances competitive advantage through:
Improved organizational effectiveness / responsiveness to change management, restructures, in delivering mission critical internal and external (customer) projects within time, scope, and cost constraints — higher levels of customer satisfaction and customer retention!!
Speed of execution of strategic initiatives, in post-acquisition integration of structures, systems, and processes – improved time to market!!
Improved skills of project management resources, effective organizational structures (e.g. PMO), project transparency, and project portfolios aligned to Strategy, and Business Objectives.
Improved basis for valuing, prioritizing, and assessing cost, risk, benefits of projects and programs.
Substantial savings in Operating Expenses in utilizing experienced PM-Partners certified project management resources on an “as needed” basis.
So what can our project management training, consultancy and delivery services do for your business? Get in touch today.
Lee Sargeant is the Managing Director DACH Region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) for p3m global.