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PMOs Rest in Peace – Welcome Chief Project Officer

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez kicked off the PMO Conference 2023 with a bang. The expert author, speaker, and PMO thought leader gave a keynote titled “PMOs Rest in Peace – Welcome Chief Project Officer.”

Antonio argued that the traditional Project Management Officer (PMO) role is becoming obsolete. As companies automate more of their operations, they need a new way to manage change and strategic initiatives.

That’s where the Chief Project Officer (CPO) comes in. The CPO is a C-suite executive who is responsible for orchestrating and implementing the organisation’s continuous transformation.

The CPO goes far beyond the traditional PMO role. They don’t just manage individual projects. They also push their organisation to adopt a project-driven structure and foster a collaborative culture.

The CPO also works with HR to develop project management skills throughout the organisation.

The CPO is a new role, but it’s one that’s becoming increasingly important. As companies become more project-oriented, the CPO will be essential for ensuring that projects are successful.

So, what does this mean for PMOs? Nieto-Rodriguez says that PMOs need to evolve or die. They need to become more strategic and less focused on process. They also need to be more collaborative and less siloed.

If PMOs can do that, they’ll still have a place in the future of work. But if they don’t, they’ll be replaced by the CPO.

What do you think? Is the CPO role the future of project management?


Recorded Session

Recorded in London in June 2023.

Presentation Deck

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Five Key Takeaways

Find out more about what the project economy is and what it means. Defined as, “a concept that refers to a global economic system where work is organized and executed through projects. In this model, projects become the primary vehicle for driving value, achieving strategic objectives, and delivering products, services, or outcomes.” It’s the future of work and one which affects anyone working in project management today. You can get started with insights from PMI right here.

Think about which projects can be cancelled in your organisation today – and how they can be cancelled. In a world where organisations have an increasingly large amount of change activity, “never start a project without cancelling or finishing two projects” is a decent rule to follow.


People don’t like working on lots of projects at the same time – there has to be full-time dedicated staff working on the most important projects for the organisation. Resource allocation for projects which are focused on the organisation’s efficiency have to be 100% successful. The challenge is allocating resources in projects where there is high levels of complexity and uncertainty – the transformative projects.

The PMO becomes the strategy implementation office and with that comes a new model and a new mindset. The project lifecycle also gets a reshape which takes into account more time upfront in ideation, and more time at the end for benefits and value focus.

Project management has to be simpler. As more people in the organisation have a project-focused way of working it stands to reason that is a whole organisation who need to be educated in project ways of working. There is a role there for the PMO as educators. In terms of simplicity anyone should be able to take 30 minutes to provide a project overview that EVERYONE understands. Check out Project Canvas for a plan on a page.

The PMO has to help develop useful metrics and measures that go beyond those of time, cost and scope.  Benefits and value are the only reasons why an organisation do projects so how can the PMO help shape the metrics that demonstrate this?

The keynote ended with a call for the PMO to step up. To care about making projects more successful, to want to help drive value and to change those failure rates – its a call for a change in mindset to reimagine where the PMO can make a difference in the world of changing business priorities where we will see more change in the next 10 years than in the last 250 years.

These are exciting times for any project professional.

Presentation Overview

>> Download the 5 page presentation overview in PDF format

PMO Conference 2023 Keynote
Rest in Peace PMOs
Chief Project Officer
PMO conference London 2023
Opening Keynote London 2023More About Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Author of the Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook, the featured HBR article The Project Economy Has Arrived, and five other books, Antonio is the creator of concepts such as the Project Economy. He is the expert that has published more articles on project management in HBR. His research and global impact on modern management have been recognized by Thinkers50. Fellow and Former Chairman of the Project Management Institute, he is the creator of the Brightline Initiative, founder of Projects&Co and the Strategy Implementation Institute. Born in Madrid, Spain, and educated in Germany, Mexico, Italy, and the United States, Antonio is fluent in five languages. He has an MBA from London Business School. He is a member of Marshall Goldsmith 100 coaches. You can follow Antonio through his LinkedIn Newsletter – Lead Projects Successfully, his popular online course Project Management Reinvented for Non-Project Managers, and his website.

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