You’d be forgiven for thinking that the PMO world moves quite slowly, given that the focus of many corporate PMOs is on delivering services in a standard way, over and over again and with a strong eye on governance.
In fact, the PMO is one of the most dynamic areas of your business. It constantly reinvents itself to align processes and approaches to industry best practice and to give the Exec team what they need to make the right decisions for the business. It’s frequently reviewing lessons learned and implementing tweaks here and there to keep internal processes as slick as possible.
On top of all that, we’ve noticed some emerging trends in the PMO arena. Here are 5 trends to watch out for in 2016.
1. Delivering Strategy
Strategy execution is the prevailing trend in project management at the moment, and that spills over into the work of the PMO. Not being able to turn a strategic vision into reality is something that many companies – large and small – are suffering from, hence a focus on how you translate the CEO’s big ideas into a set of projects and programs that make it real.
PMI’s study, Enabling Organizational Change Through Strategic Initiatives (available on the PMI Pulse website) reports that PMOs are critical to sustaining organizational change – the kind of change that strategy tries to deliver. However, only 56% of companies are doing this in a highly effective way.
We predict that PMOs will step up and take on the role of an active enabler of strategy. At the most basic level, this simply means identifying the right projects – the ones that best align to achieving the strategic vision – and making sure that those projects are done well.
2. Managing Agile
Agile is coming into the remit of the PMO, especially in organizations that run both Agile and waterfall methodologies. However, moving to Agile ways of working can be a challenge for PMOs, and it’s often outside the comfort zone of the people on the core PMO team.
PMOs are traditionally tasked with maintaining the governance and control of projects and programs, and Agile can feel as if it falls outside of the normal governance mechanisms. For example:
- Business cases are often less precise.
- Benefits can be unclear or can change during the project, making prioritization against other projects more difficult.
- Agile sprints may not neatly align to the time-boxed standard reporting championed by the PMO.
We predict that more PMOs will embrace Agile and look for ways to draw Agile and waterfall methods under the same governance practices.
3. Managing Portfolios
PMOs are increasingly good at managing project and program activity, but we’re yet to see global improvements in the way companies address and manage portfolios of work. As PMOs mature, we predict that this will change.
We feel that there’s a trend towards portfolio management becoming a real value-add for businesses who have got project and program management cracked. Linking related programs and BAU activity together with structured oversight and governance helps businesses generate a real return on investment through clear benefits realization.
PMOs need to be taking the lead in this, helping organizations understand what portfolio management is and how it can help deliver business strategy in a more holistic way than program management alone.
The PMO that moves to fill this gap in their organization is going to be a mature division, led by a credible and senior management team with a track record of delivery. It’s perhaps the end goal for today’s fledgling PMO that mainly focuses on reporting and implementing standard processes. However, it’s good to begin with the end in sight, so this is a trend to watch whatever stage of PMO maturity your team is at.
4. Working With Accidental Project Managers
It’s no secret that more work is being undertaken in a project-led way, making more and more people accidental project managers by default. ‘Accidental project managers’ are those individuals who have found themselves working on and often leading projects without formal training or access to the tools, templates and assistance provided by a corporate PMO.
The challenge for the PMO team is around how to bring those individuals – who could be leading large scale projects – into the fold. There’s a balance to be had between assisting with and reporting on their work, bringing their deliverables under the remit of the PMO, and ‘changing’ them into formal project managers when perhaps that’s a long term career goal that they don’t hold for themselves.
We predict that PMOs will need to adjust their outreach activities to engage with accidental project managers outside of their normal resource pool. This will have to be done on a flexible basis as each individual is going to need different support and guidance for their project and their career stage.
5. Creating Career Paths
PMOs are taking on the responsibility for creating well-define routes for career progression for their project management community, as well as their own resources.
Research by ESI points to less than half of PMOs offering a clear route for project professionals to advance in their careers. Given the cost of acquiring and onboarding a new starter, managing career paths within the organization is a cheaper option than letting qualified and experienced staff leave, only to have to recruit at the next level.
Helping individuals manage their careers through job families, greater opportunities to take on larger and more complex pieces of work and training improves staff morale and retention rates, keeping your project management expertise where you need it.
We predict that companies will spend more time in 2016 looking at staff retention and how they can fill the talent gap with their own internal resources.
How do you feel your PMO will mature in 2016? Or is your 2016 goal to set one up? Either way, we can help. Call us today on (703) 910-2600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how Ten Six’s expertise and experience can improve your project, program and portfolio management capabilities this year.