2017 was an excellent year for AMO! Our observation of PMOs across industries, was also positive, with a greater awareness of the PMO and its place in today’s organisations. If you didn’t already have one, you were either talking about one or had already kicked off implementation activities for your first PMO. Likewise, if you already had a PMO, you were transforming and improving on it.

PMO trends

More and more organisations are adapting to newer and more flexible ways of working, where they may look to integrate Agile or other culture-based methodologies, that impact the way they run a project to deliver a product or service. We begin to strategise on how we align the traditional PMO to meet organisational governance requirements.

Everything in life evolves, so too should the PMO! We think about the things that we need to change to be more effective; to be more fast-paced like the rest of the organisation, to facilitate and enable these projects, to support delivery in more meaningful ways.

After a busy 2017 and having entered this year with a bang, we’d like to share with you some of the emerging trends (and opportunities) we’ve found for 2018:

1. The Agile PMO

We’re seeing a shift from Agile as the ‘buzz word’, to Agile being a reality. The Agile development culture is slowly embedding itself into organisations big and small. For the larger organisations, however, we’re seeing a hybrid implementation of Waterfall / Agile (or ‘Wagile’). This new culture introduces several challenges and opportunities for PMO:

  • The main opportunity is that PMO can use principles of Agile to facilitate a transformation of the PMO; bringing value to projects and the business quicker and using feedback from each stakeholder to provide the PMO transformation with direction.

The primary challenge for PMO is transforming to support and have sufficient oversight of Agile projects. PMOs must adapt various requirements at an organisational level (and must drive this both up and down the value chain) for things such as governance, reporting, scheduling, or gating. This becomes especially prominent when PMO’s role is to ensure projects align with, and continue to align with, organisational strategy. To accommodate Agile development, PMO will need to become somewhat flexible whilst also maintaining oversight. How that works will differ by organisation and by project.

This is where we’ve focused our bespoke AMO Model; it’s an approach that can support the governance and oversight of Agile Projects, whilst maintaining a lean footprint.

2. Digitalisation: An increase in the use of Tools

Just as we (AMO) build on our own toolset, we’re seeing an increased use of software and tools, both locally and as cloud offerings, to streamline and simplify the PMO function. These tools will often facilitate the input and output of information anywhere at any time for PMOs, Projects, and Management of both. These tools typically facilitate data entry (making it easy and consistent for projects) as well as including logic and automation to facilitate things like forecasting and risk management. More and more PMOs are turning to Portfolio Project Management (PPM) tools, but how much analysis is being done to ensure it’s the right fit for the organisation before investing. One of our previous clients invested in a bespoke PPM tool without adequate stakeholder engagement only to find the tool needed to be redesigned. Spend the time upfront, to ensure your investment is the right one.

3. The Evolution of the PMO role

A traditional PMO’s role is to ensure that Project and Programs in an Organisation’s Portfolio is running in alignment with the corporate standards. That is, the processes and procedures are being followed, and projects / programs are consistently evidenced. Many traditional PMOs have no accountability for a project’s success or failure. They enforce a standard operating environment; one they’re not individually subject to.

Fast forward to 2018 and we’re looking at ways the PMO role can transition into more of an enabling role. We’re asking ourselves how we can transform the PMO to one that assists projects and promotes good governance. How can we become an enabler?

4. Branding the PMO

If you’re not working with, or have exposure to projects in your organisation, it’s likely you don’t know who or what the PMO does. Likewise, for Projects and interacting Business Units, it may well be unclear what the PMO does for your organisation and may well be regarded as a blocker for projects. They boast power and process control whilst having no real accountability for project success.

We’re beginning to see a shift in PMO’s reputation, typically by way of branding and utilising intranet sites, email, other communication tools to remove ambiguity. Clarity on what a PMO function (varying by organisation) does is being established, which translates to an understanding of PMO’s value in an organisation.

5. Data Driven Decision Management (DDDM)

The use of data driven decisioning is a flow on effect to the adoption of software and tools in project management. This includes dashboards, custom reporting, triggers against industry or custom standards, etc. that can be generated and accessed at any point in time, and from anywhere in the world. Data taken from several functional areas (finance, schedule, workforce / leave, risks or issues, defects, test results, etc.) can all contribute to more effective data driven decision management. An example of this is Microsoft Power BI; Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyse data and share insights.

If you’d like more information on how to build a high performing PMO or evolve the one you have using the AMO Method, please get in touch with our team: contact@agilemanagementoffice.com.