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Become More Than a Status Quo PMO

keyedin pmo project management rachel hentges Jun 06, 2022
Become More Than a Status Quo PMO

In today’s faced paced business environment, it’s crucial to be able to keep up. Status quo processes and business results won’t be suffice. The Project Management Office (PMO) has been at the center of business processes for years, but the role of the PMO is changing. Organizations are turning to the PMO to deliver the value the business wants and needs to in order to stay competitive. So what does that mean for the PMO? Status quo won’t cut it!

What has the past couple of years taught us?
The areas of focus for organizations has shifted. In the recent Project Management Institute’s Beyond Agility: Flex to the Future report, the top three changes within businesses over the last 12 months include digital transformation, business strategy and organizational adaptability. And who usually drives these types of initiatives? The PMO!

The PMO in the past was responsible for project tracking, project reporting and project governance. This is the definition of a status quo PMO. A PMO that manages business outputs.  The problem with this is it doesn’t support any of the three main areas of focus for organizations noted above. It’s time for the PMO to level up. The PMO should be looking toward supporting the top three initiatives of organizations in today’s fast paced environment. 

The role of the PMO today is strategic alignment, adaptability and business strategy execution. The PMO should be managing business outcomes not business outputs. The strategic goals of the business should be driven through the efforts of the PMO. According to The PMO Outlook Report: 2022 Edition, 77% of project practitioners say that their projects and resources are somewhat aligned, not very aligned or not at all aligned with their business’ priorities. This is a problem. If the PMO is not aligned with business strategy, they aren’t going to be delivering the business benefits that executives want. It’s time to think differently.

Introducing a Results-Driven PMO

Traditional PMOs focus on governance to ensure project tracking and reporting is standardized. This showcases PMOs as a process enabler, but for a Results-Driven PMO it’s different. A Results-Driven PMO is focused on strategic project prioritization and planning and execution so governance becomes a function of the PMO rather than the purpose. Results-Driven PMOs are focused on outcomes. But, how can PMOs deliver those outcomes effectively?

Here are a few ways:

  1. Continually re-evaluate your portfolio of projects to ensure strategic alignment – Historically, portfolio planning happened once a year and not reviewed until the year was over to determine its success. Today, there is too much change happening all the time including important shifts in business priorities. That is why continuous monitoring of your portfolio and their alignment to your businesses’ strategic initiatives is that much more important. As business priorities change, so should the portfolio of projects you’re working on in order to see the most value and return on investment.
  2. Understand available and constrained resources in real-time – Your most valuable asset is your people. Understanding the demand and the resources you have available to support that demand is crucial in order to achieve those strategic goals. Without that real-time insight your most valuable asset isn’t being optimized for success. 
  3. Adapt to change quickly to ensure strategy value is delivered - As priorities change and projects start and stop, knowing what your resources are working on and what they should be working on is important. That visibility can transform the way your PMO delivers value. By being able to adapt quickly, your PMO will be seen as a crucial driver of business value even when asked to pivot.

By aligning in real-time, the PMO is positioned to adapt in a strategic way and deliver value.

Earn your seat as a value driver of your business

Say goodbye to Status Quo PMO and hello to Results-Driven PMO! Follow these steps to level up your PMO from status quo.

  1. Identify the Strategic Goals of the Business - Understand the key objectives of your organization and make sure those objectives are communicated to all contributors and commit to delivering business outcomes supporting those goals.
  2. Plan Your Portfolio to Execute – Plan your portfolio based upon those strategic initiatives and prioritize those projects that are set to deliver on business outcomes.
  3. Adapt Resources and Projects in Real-Time – Nothing ever goes as planned perfectly, so be ready to adapt. Be proactive and quick about making adjustments to ensure strategic alignment of your portfolio and resources are in tune with changing priorities.
  4. Monitor for Success – Continually monitor this process. The work of a Results-Driven PMO is never done and PMO strategy improvement should remain aligned with the business. 

It’s time to think differently about your role as a PMO leader. It’s true - the old way isn’t going to cut it in the evolving digital world. PMO leaders are setting themselves up for success by becoming Results-Driven PMOs. It’s the shift from operating on producing business outputs to delivering business outcomes! 

With this shift, PMO leaders are earning their seat at the executive table and driving businesses forward through strategy definition, strategy execution and strategy realization.

Is your business looking to you to do the same? It’s your time to shine and become more than a status quo PMO!



By: Rachel Hentges, KeyedIn