This year seems to have whizzed by, and here in the Ten Six office we’re once again discussing the changes we’ve seen in PMOs over the past 12 months, and predicting the 2020 PMO trends.
After much debate, here are the five 2020 PMO trends we think you should be aware of as we head into 2020.
1. Robotic Process Automation
We talked about intelligent tools in our 2019 trend predictions, and this year, there has been a lot of focus on technology.
Robotics is one aspect of that, and it doesn’t mean you will be staffing your PMO with robots in the coming year!
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a way to automate processes that are currently manual. For example, extracting data from project managers’ reports submitted via the enterprise project management software and creating a summary. How much time would this save in your PMO if you could automatically extract relevant information and populate the consolidated report template automatically?
There are so many stable PMO processes, and such good enterprise PM software out there, that you could build macros or use an off-the-shelf commercial solution to automate some of the routine work that your PMO team does.
We’ll see this becoming more and more common over time, and honestly – it’s a good thing. It elevates the work of the PMO from data crunchers and report producers to people who have the time to do detailed analysis.
Developing project management skills across the business is something that has been on our radar for some time, but coaching specifically is a core skill for 2020.
As more and more PMOs expand to include support for Agile ways of working, coaching becomes a necessary addition to the PMO team’s skillset. We need to be supporting individuals across the business in understanding the most effective ways to get work done, without coming across as inflexible. Coaching is a good way to increase capability that exists inherently within the teams already.
You may already provide coaching for project delivery professionals within the PMO. How could you extend that beyond the existing boundaries and offer support to other areas of the business?
3. Project Mental Health & Wellbeing Awareness
It comes as no surprise that the long hours culture of people working in change delivery roles is unhealthy. We’re seeing some programs already adopt an approach that puts stress management and the mental health of practitioners first.
Some projects even have dedicated mental health officers who look out for the wellbeing of team members. They can lead on a culture of going home on time, putting challenges into perspective and watching out for signs of stress and overload in their colleagues.
The PMO can champion this change. Projects can still get delivered on time, on budget and to the required scope with satisfied stakeholders all round, without needing the ‘hero’ mentality we sometimes see in project managers and their teams. Good, robust processes and a solid approach to planning and delivery means there shouldn’t be any need for burnout or overload in our teams.
Having someone specifically responsible in the PMO for driving a culture where health and wellbeing is respected, supported and colleagues look out for each other, is so important as we move into increasingly complex environments. The projects that many companies now work on have such tight deadlines, complex regulations to abide by, the challenges of leading virtual and multi-cultural international teams, and more.
Work-related stress and the retention of staff are real issues for many companies, so it is time to put wellbeing front and center of your plans for 2020.
4. Adaptive PMOs
The fourth one in our 2020 PMO trends list, is the adaptive PMO. The adaptive PMO is simply one that can flex to respond to the needs of the business at any given time. Whether that is increasing the amount of support you provide to projects using Agile approaches, or supporting a round of strategic planning or something else, the PMO should and can be flexible.
However, being able to respond to business needs requires you to know what the business needs are. This relies on the PMO being well connected to senior leadership in the organization so that you can adequately respond to today’s business challenges.
What ‘being flexible’ looks like is going to be different from company to company, but as you make your plans for the coming year, think about how you can stay close to business leaders to ensure you stay responsive.
5. Increasing the scope of Portfolio Management
Portfolio management might not seem particularly radical – surely it’s something PMOs do anyway, and not a trend?
On the contrary, many PMOs operate at a project and program level, and do so very well. Once this approach has been proven, PMOs then have the ability to argue for access to ‘higher’ levels of organizational planning. When you can show the value you’ve added to projects and programs, moving into portfolio management is a logical next step.
We’d like to see more and more ‘project and program’ PMOs evolve to be true enterprise PMOs in the coming year and offer portfolio management services.
If you already support your business with portfolio management, now is the time to reflect on how well that is working and what you could do to improve the maturity of the offerings you have. This is a kind of ‘back to basics’ trend: more and more companies are taking the time to look at how portfolios are managed and how that could be done more effectively.