The PMO Manifesto includes the line -
Enabling Change over Restraining Delivery
At the PMO Flashmob back in June, the World Cafe event gave us the opportunity to understand more about what this actually means. The idea behind this part of the manifesto is as a PMO function we prefer to be seen as an entity that enables our project organisations to run better and more successful projects without being seen as a hindrance or 'project police'. It is about being able to find the balance between 'control' (the restraining part) and the 'free rein' (the enabling part) first and then thinking about a future state where 'restraint' becomes a word of the past.
In this article there are no conclusions, just thoughts and opinions conveyed by those who attended. I hope the overview is useful. Here's how the conversation unfolded:
I listened to a webinar last week called Deciding the Key Things to Explain to Stakeholders During Transformation. It was delivered by Jo Ann Sweeney who I met when co-editing the Handbook of People in Project Management a few years ago.
Jo Ann specialises in communications in business and change projects and I thought this would be a good session to gain some insights for PMO practitioners. Insights not just for the programmes and projects they support and the change professionals they might work with - also their own communications from the PMO to their own stakeholders.
There were three key things worth sharing - the concept of the elephant and the rider; overarching themes and how to structure messages.
My first ever PMO Flashmob ended up in a pub – which is no bad thing from a networking point of view! The format of the evening revolved around the typical word café menu. The menu included 5 topics of conversation to challenge PMOs and the PMO Manifesto.
A musical chairs style atmosphere enabled all delegates to attend three discussions that were of particular interest. I selected 'how do we make the PMO an enabler for change?', 'how can we get PMO to become a permanent business fixture?' and 'how do we bring the PMO Manifesto to life?'.
The enabling change discussion really started off covering items such as having the right people in the right jobs and how PMO can support communicating with the wider audience as well as education. It swiftly moved onto what PMOs could add as a change enabler in the higher echelons of business strategy. It was commonly agreed that for a PMO to work at such a level and not have to concentrate too much on the delivery aspect that all the project and programme people would have to be absolutely trusted to the right job every time. I don’t know about you but I would say that this ‘nirvana’ state for PMOs has not been achieved by many leaders.
The conversation swiftly then moved onto what PMOs add as a change enabler and we decided on the integration of projects and programmes, process management and getting to the ‘sweet spot’ between strategy & delivery.
With the term PMO recognised as covering all manner of activities this session will give you perspective from the BBC's corporate PMO.
Stuart will outline the role his team performs in supporting and challenging the BBC's critical projects and how the PMO's course has adjusted over time with experiences.
Developing capability has remained a cornerstone of their approach and with the BBC facing unprecedented levels of change, Stuart will share a view on the PMOs role in helping to project leaders to deliver change successfully.
Opportunity to compare function and reflect priorities
Recognition of the journey in maturing a PMO function
Offer a view on the PMOs role with business change
Susie is the Head of PMO and Change at the Open University, this session, following the Open University’s
recent award for PMO of the Year from the Association for Project Management is both a reflective and proactive look at the role of the Open University PMO as it transitioned from project support to a strategic partner; the lynch pin to their £100million change portfolio. The session will explore how the OU PMO chose to act as a catalyst for change, their role in using change management as an essential component to project and PMO success, and how they actively challenged blocking behaviours.
Change is an all-encompassing word used to describe the impact to processes, people and target operating models.
This can make it confusing to those who support its implementation. We know that whatever the drive for change, whether a shift in strategic direction, customer demands, the disruption of digital or AI, organisations are increasingly coming to terms with how critical strong change management practices are to the success of their transformation.
This makes change everyone’s business.
We believe the PMO is not only perfectly placed to support change but can help lead the way. Because, when the PMO understands the science behind change management and can recognise when it’s needed, it can ‘plug in’ sound change strategies, practices and thinking at the heart of every project and outcome delivered.
The PMO can broker the connection between change management and project delivery assuring effective practices are in place.
This session will help PMO leaders learn how to develop their own and their teams’ competencies and ability to support change.
Organisations that excel at investing in change use a goals-driven portfolio.
They prioritise their goals, invest more in their priority goals, and choose projects that can achieve those priorities as efficiently as possible.
A goals-driven portfolio provides the foundation for agile investment decisions.
As rapidly as the market changes, as new ideas emerge, and as today’s projects vary in their probabilities of success, business leaders and portfolio managers can re-appraise the organisation’s investment choices.
They can decide what to keep the same in the portfolio and what needs to change – to achieve the goals they are investing in, at the speed they need to achieve them, and with the least possible risk.
Change Management is about the change from current workings to the desired end state. The focus is on people and helping them through this transition. The skills go hand in hand with project management, but the two roles require different skill sets.
However, there are techniques and tools that a PMO can incorporate into best project management practice which enables both them and project managers to manage change more effectively.
This session will focus on some of the basic concepts of change management and how they can be used to help understand the size of the transformation and make sure that it aligns to key project activities.
The session will include real examples that demonstrate the impact of change management approaches on a project. If you’re currently exploring the adoption of change management principles and approaches within your organisation or PMO, this session is a great place to start.
In this session, Criag explored concepts around why effective decision making is complex, including behavioural psychology, emotional intelligence, design thinking and data science.
About the PMO Mini-Masterclass - Evolving the PMO
Ever heard the PMO statistic that many PMOs have a shelf life on average of three years? We’re back in Edinburgh – at the heart of Scottish Government – to discuss what this statistic actually means – is it that PMOs are actually disbanded after three years or is it more likely that PMOs evolve and change since their initial incarnation into something else?
If this is the case, why is that? What changes do the PMO have to make? And is it a push or pull evolution? Lots of questions that need answers! We’ll also be looking at getting the PMO ready for evolution and also what future states of the PMO can look like. We’ll explore the potential differences in the functions and services from now and into the future.
The evening session included:
What factors could drive the evolution of a PMO?
What models might we consider in the evolution?
Where do maturity models figure in the evolution?
An insight into what is driving the PMO at the Scottish Government
What out practitioners need to stop, start and continue doing in their PMO.