Four Critical Shifts Disrupting the PMO Mandate

PMO Leaders must be aware of the PMO mandate and its evolution to thrive in the Digital World. This is being driven by Digital Business Transformation initiatives occurring in nearly 70% of businesses. Digital Business Transformation is the aspect of “going paperless” and is disrupting whole segments of society, including the Public Sector. 

Even though these initiatives are creating greater possibilities, it is also creating significant changes that are directly affecting the PMO’s mandate.  The changes blooming in the “new normal” converge by refocusing on project management and portfolio management activities and techniques that will become more significant. Here are the four Shifts occurring right now.

PMO Mandate

1.     Resource Management

There is a shift from a “project-centric” PMO to a “portfolio-centric” PMO.  Traditionally, PMO’s organized by projects, and you had centralized resource management, financial sponsorship, and governance.  Now, PMO’s rely less on projects and more on product lines, value streams, and portfolios. You will continue to see PMOs having a critical role in managing Programs, however. 

2.     Technology

You also see a shift from managing projects through project management software such as Microsoft Project.  Today, you see Integrated Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Tools, which manage all portfolio functions, including enterprise-level resource management, demand management, and financial investment management.  These processes will use Value Stream as the unit of investment. The results are faster go to market, which can dynamically reprioritize funding and resources within the product line.  Using integrated PPM tools allow PMO Leaders and executives to adapt to how it supports investment reviews and prioritization exercises. 

3.     Processes

Agile PMO is now taking over as the primary delivery approach in most types of portfolios. The “Waterfall” methodology is rapidly being replaced as you see agile techniques or other iterative methods being used for most IT development.  Nearly 65% of organizations use an iterative process for managing product development.  This is creating new roles, such as Scrum Masters and Product Owners, that traditionally had been filled by Project Managers and Product Managers. However, Agile’s term is not consistent from company to company as most organizations use a hybrid-agile methodology.  These duties are not typically part of a PMO and reside within the Product and/or Development teams.  This causes the PMO to shift its emphasis from delivery ownership to enabling and coordinating others in the organization. 

4.     Governance

In the traditional mandate, governance was done by a PMO, and through time the Enterprise PMO.  However, in the New Normal with PPM replacing Project Management, an enterprise Strategy Office is being implemented in many organizations.   In some organizations, the Strategy Office is known as the Transformational Management Office. Still, they both do the same function of ensuring that organizational investments are aligned with the organization’s strategic goals.  As you see a shift to product-centric organizations and value streams, you see more portfolios and sub-portfolios, which adds complexity.  

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