Project Management Institute and PwC launched a new report called the Evolution of PMOs (Project Management Offices).

‘ Organizations are on a continuous journey to deliver greater value from project portfolios that continually grow in complexity and size, as the world’s economy becomes increasingly projectified. To improve project outcomes, many organizations are turning to value-based delivery approaches that focus on achieving a flow of value to the customer. As organizations shift away from traditional delivery models, the role, purpose and even the name of the project management office (PMO) is changing in tandem.’

PMI, 2023

The report was discussed by a panel of leaders in Madrid mid March during the Annual Global Volunteer Leaders Summit. Four experts in different sectors discussed the future of PMOs and how it is forming up to support strategic progress. The research that was done by PMI & PwC introduces 4 mindsets and calls this office the xMO and talks about a four stages to set up and run an xMO.

Here are my takeaways:

The Four Mindsets for xMOs

The paper takes about having four mindsets that successful Management Offices have in common. This is taking into consideration the top 10% best practices. (This research has identified a global cohort of 230 organizations with high-performing PMOs. Organizations with advanced PMO maturity are more likely to have performed much better compared to the previous year in common indicators of business performance such as revenue, customer loyalty and acquisition, and environment, social and governance (ESG) indicators. PMI, 2023).

In order to make the model applicable to different contexts, PMI introduced xMO instead of PMO. In the past (P)MO referred to Project Management office or Programme Management Office. Today, it does not matter what the management office is called as long as added value (benefit realisation) can be demonstrated. So you can call it in your business Transformation Management Office (TMO) or Strategic Management Office (SMO) or a Change Management Office (CMO). You can choose whatever (x) means for your organisation.

Here are the four mindsets:

  • People and culture focused
  • Supportive
  • Aligned to Strategy
  • Flexible and Adaptive

Takeaway 1: Depending on the journey of your organisation, you can have one of these mindsets a lot more pronounced than the other. I would highly recommend you are comfortable with all four mindsets if you want to continue to drive meaningful progress to your business. You could be delivering all four mindsets to different projects, depending on the team and the circumstances.

xMO Design and Maturity

The paper talks about understanding business needs in the pre-design stage. This will help you determine whether you need an xMO to be centralised or decentralised. It will also help you define and map out the type of support this office will help you in achieving governance.

To design and implement an xMO, the paper introduces a four-stage cycle: Define, Measure, Align, Implement.

The Future of xMO, PMI 2023

If you are new to this journey with a management office, then these four stages help. If you are well experienced, then you will no doubt go the PDCA or PDSA model which has been established for decades.

  • PDCA: Plan, Do, Check, Act
  • PDSA: Plan, Do, Study, Act

Takeaway 2: The essence of this 4 stage model is to ensure that you do not jump into actions from the get go. To ensure your benefit realisation is fit for purpose, invest time in planning what your xMO office is to achieve, engage with all your stakeholders, and start putting a framework of action in place. As you start producing outputs, ensure that they are reviewed and the assessment considers the intent of the design of this office.

Call to Action

Finally, the paper provides professionals a call to action. One of them takes a top priority for me if you want to ensure this new office is bringing value:

  • Honestly assess your culture, values and leadership style:
    Foster psychological safety and help create a fearless organization. Practice servant leadership. Recognize and reward honest reporting and failure.

While this call to action is for professionals, I would also suggest that it is a call to action to businesses engaging with professionals to help them increase their strategic success.

Takeaway 3: Company’s culture and values sits at the heart of the actions and decisions by the everyone in the company. Engage with the business leaders and see if they have a listen or tell approach to things. I strongly believe that a listen culture is a strong indicator that change can be achieved in a collaborative effort.

You can read the full read and download your free copy here

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