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The Sign of the Times - The Emerging PMO

The signs are clear: it's a new way of working, the "new normal". I have seen this happen every year; parts of the PMO will be shifted around, new roles will be added and titles re-arranged. It can seem like an overwhelming time for PMs who must navigate their way through unfamiliar faces and job titles. What is causing these annual PMO reorganizations? Why do companies continue to rework their PMOs again and again? The answer is simple: they're trying to find better ways to manage their portfolios or projects. I've seen clients pull out their hair in frustration because work habits have changed so drastically with advancements in technology, people changing how they work and organizations transitioning into one which practices servant leadership rather than followership. They all want better ways to manage projects--even if that means continuously reorganizing!

As the PMO evolves, so do the roles and responsibilities that makeup it. The driving force behind this is sometimes ruthless business drivers who are always looking for process improvement - businesses need to deliver faster than ever before! Another driving force of an evolving PMO is a disruptive technology that changes how we think about processes, delivering products or services more effectively.

Businesses need to improve their processes and they need to do this in a timely fashion. The demand for companies that want products, results, and services delivered faster than ever before is one of the driving forces behind an evolving PMO. To meet this demand, businesses are looking for ways to improve internal processes as well as external ones to reduce time-to-market costs, increase productivity and become agile. To facilitate these changes, technology has been used by business owners to make improvements internally or externally--bringing with it increased customer satisfaction.

I have seen many organizations believing that technology is the PMO silver bullet in delivering projects faster and better and many PMO’s have failed. On top of this, bureaucratic processes and governance have driven project managers into glorified secretaries- still not achieving excellent results from their projects.

I presented at a conference last year on why PMOs fail, and that same ol' song about the reasons was echoed. I'm not going to mention them all but some of the main ones where leadership doesn't believe that we are adding value, PMO’s are seen as paper pushers and policemen, ultimately many PMO’s are seen us as not being helpful.

There are three reasons why this is happening. The first reason is poor leadership, the second being a lack of PMO know-how, and the third is that business disruption has increased due to rapid change today and a paper-pushing PMO cannot keep up. Leadership needs to take ownership of their company by acknowledging that they must have a functioning PMO, which helps protect and advance the business through continuous disruptions that regularly occur. I've had experience designing and building PMOs across various countries for nearly two decades, businesses need to adapt to disruption or else they will be left behind.

The traditional PMO is transforming into an emerging PMO. I recently spoke about this at an online conference. The new era of “The Project Manager’s Boxing Ring IQ” is here, and it's time that the project manager takes center stage- to take ownership of their projects. To make this happen, leadership needs to embrace change at all levels and empower the project manager. The current trend has been moving away from Waterfall only approaches, with Hybrid/Agile approaches becoming more popular over recent years as well- which explains why we've seen so many organizations setting up Agile PMOs lately. The focus must be geared towards making changes for what YOU need now by continuing to build upon these shifts happening in today’s workplace environment. Agility is now the common denominator.

I have identified 8 Key PMO Trends for 2022 and beyond:

  • Embracing the Power of AI (Artificial Intelligence)

  • Attracting Remote Human Capital

  • Growing Dependency on Cloud-Based Project Management Technologies

  • Growing T - Shaped Skills with Soft Skills

  • Application of Robust ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Strategies

  • Traditional Project management to a Blend of (PHAF) Plan/Hybrid and Agile Mix

  • Array of Project Management Certifications

  • Design Thinking Methods

  • Project Workplace Gamification

A PMO is most definitely a strategic weapon that must be part of any organization’s tactical arsenal. Leadership must acknowledge, understand, and support the value of a PMO. A PMO is mission-critical. by Kevin in’t Veld – CEO Bridgit Africa (Pty) Ltd

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