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PMO Success in 2023 and Beyond

keyedin pmo project management rachel hentges technology Jan 24, 2023
PMO Success in 2023 and Beyond

There is one common theme over the past few years that continues to help mold the role of the PMO as it’s evolved from a strictly reporting function to a business value delivery function and that’s change.

Change is hard and organizations are continuing to feel the effects of the unpredictability of today’s business environment, so what does that mean for the PMO?

Old News, Not Good News

In the 3rd Edition of The PMO Outlook Report specifically designed to give a clear picture of challenges and opportunities for PMO leaders including what trends are setting PMOs up for business success we learn some alarming statistics. So, let’s talk about them.

Resource management continues to be the top challenge for PMO leaders out there at over 50% citing that as their biggest challenge in managing their portfolios. But why is that? 77% are citing they don’t have enough resources to keep up with the project demand. That statistic alone should be a red flag to businesses and PMO leaders to take a closer look at the projects in flight. Are the right projects being prioritized for the right reasons?

That brings us to the second most popular challenge cited by surveyed project practitioners of project prioritization. If organizations aren’t ensuring the right mix of projects are in flight and aligned with the goals of the business, the success and performance achieved in the end isn’t going to be up to par. This is especially worth noting when 42% cited saying no to projects in the portfolio as their top challenge with project prioritization. But why is that?

Alignment, Alignment, Alignment

An important and discouraging statistic that was found from 2021 to 2022, is that there was an overall decrease in alignment of resources to business priorities year over year. In 2021, organizations cited that their resources were 23% very well aligned with business priorities, but in 2022 that number dropped to only 8%. This is alarming as organizations are expecting certain results that if projects the PMO delivers aren’t aligned, projects will fail in the eyes of key stakeholders and executives of the business. This isn’t a good look for the PMO as a whole.

Part of this comes when we talk about how organizations are defining the role of the PMO and what that looks like. When asked what the role of the PMO was, there was obviously not a consistent be-all-end-all answer, however, the more surprising results came when we looked at the specific role of the individual that responded. 

You’ll notice below that, many PMO/portfolio managers and project managers are still considering the role of the PMO to be strictly a reporting and tracking function. Think traditional PMO model. But, 0% of executives cited that the role of the PMO is just reporting/tracking. This is especially important to call out, as yes, over the last few years the role of the PMO has changed and executives are turning to PMO leaders to deliver more and that shouldn’t scare PMO leaders. In fact, the PMO plays a critical role in exactly what is happening in the world today – CHANGE.

The PMO Pivot

If there is any team in an organization that understands change, it’s the PMO. They are often at the center of delivering change within and for a business. PMO leaders seeing success in their organizations are true change catalysts, but how are they able to do that? They’ve mastered what I call “The PMO Pivot.” What is it? The PMO Pivot is the bridge of strategy delivery and project execution even when business priorities shift. PMOs able to embrace The PMO Pivot are truly a center of excellence within their organizations. Executives turn to them to connect the organizational goals with portfolio prioritization to deliver the most and best value for the business – even when the goals are constantly changing. The PMO Pivot is used by results-driven PMOs.

What is a Successful PMO?

When project practitioners were asked to define what a successful PMO is there was a far and above theme – RESULTS. In The 2022 Edition of PMO Outlook Report, we identified and defined a results-driven PMO, which ultimately means a PMO that is focused on strategic project prioritization, planning and execution – delivering real outcomes for the business. In The 2023 Edition of The PMO Outlook Report, we found that 66% of project practitioners noted a successful PMO is one that delivers results and outcomes for their organization. Gone are the days where the sole focus of a PMO is governance and/or tracking and reporting. 

So what are some takeaways for ensuring your PMO is setup for success in 2023?

  1. Alignment is crucial to PMO success: Understand the goals of the business and ensure you’re prioritizing your portfolio accordingly.
  2. Embrace The PMO Pivot: The priorities of your business can and will change and the PMO should be ready to adjust and align to those initiatives accordingly
  3. Focus on Business Results: The performance metrics the PMO should be measuring against should align with the goals they are trying to achieve.

This is only the tip of iceberg when it comes to the data covered in The 2023 Edition of The PMO Outlook Report. Additional information on challenges and opportunities that all PMO leaders should know about going into 2023 and beyond are also included.

Interested in diving deeper into the data found in the latest PMO Outlook Report? Check out this complimentary copy.

Rachel Hentges bio

Rachel Hentges is the Director of Marketing at KeyedIn, where she has been instrumental in developing engaging industry related content for KeyedIn’s audiences for the last almost 8 years. From insightful webinars to industry research reports and everything in-between, Rachel is proud to distribute educational resources driving organizations to think differently about how they do business today!