Coming into 2019, we believe it is both an exciting but challenging time for PMOs. Throughout the past few years we have observed a fundamental shift in awareness of PMO and its value-add potential to delivery and BAU. Amidst the rapidly evolving landscape, PMOs have an opportunity to thrive if they can achieve the right balance between delivery and BAU.

We are entering an era, where a significant number of organisations have embarked on transformation journeys into new ways of working. Off the back of these transformations, organisations have come to recognise the need for PMOs to remain competitive. As a result, companies are either talking about re-/establishing PMOs that may have existed as part of the transformations or transforming and improving legacy PMOs.

The drive for organisation to reflect and revisit the need for PMOs is largely driven by their new decentralised delivery environments and inability to roll up information into consistent digestible formats without a centralised function.

In order to thrive as a PMO, we need to think about the things that NEED to evolve and adapt these new environments to be fast-paced, agile to change, keep up with delivery, facilitate enablement within projects to ultimately support delivery in more meaningful ways.

So, what do we believe are the emerging trends (and opportunities) for 2019?

1.      Digital Transformation and the PMO

As many definitions exist for digital transformation, we work with the understanding that it is the integration of technology into ALL areas of a business; fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.

It is nothing new, either. Customer requirements are constantly evolving, and companies are keeping up with varying degrees of success. Artificial Intelligence (AI, or Robots), blockchain and smart machines are amongst a few contributors to the digital journey. The biggest challenge here is integration.

Digital Transformation means processes simplify and resource capacity is released. For PMO, this means regaining capacity to focus on true evolution, allowing its people to do more things in new and exciting ways. New models for governance need to be developed that monitor varying methods of delivery. The challenge PMOs face here are achieving initial capacity to focus on Digital Transformation.

Likewise, PMOs need direct input into the organisation’s Digital Transformation Strategy, providing thought leadership to evolve with the wider organisational vision.

2.      Service Delivery Model

We predict that requirements focused on capturing insights and visionary concepts will come to dominate the corporate landscape, just as technical and functional requirements have with the uptake of the personal computing era.

Success is not guaranteed with technological experimentation, as a result success measures will change. Service delivery models will change.  Geographically dispersed freelancers, business partnerships and augmented teams will reshape the way we think and work.

How does a PMO keep up or preferably be ahead? In two words; Integrated and Managed.

The workforce structures that govern our professional interactions are changing dramatically. Vendor management and workforce planning is imperative to retaining talent and knowledge. Intelligent approaches to communicate and disseminate knowledge will be highly valued. PMO’s are primed to be the catalyst to drive this increasingly valuable knowledge and connectivity hub, providing on demand services.

3.      Digitalisation: Monitoring & Metrics

Monitoring capabilities are becoming increasingly self-serve. Integrity over the ‘control centre’ needs to be a safe assumption, of which PMO is responsible. This includes things like Project dashboards, custom reporting and alarming; available in real-time, and from anywhere in the world.

More and more PMOs are turning to PPM (Portfolio Project Management) tools to provide such a function, but PMOs need to ensure adequate analysis is done to ensure it is the right fit for the organisation before investing in a potential multi-million-dollar project.

Just as we (AMO) build our own tool-set, we’re seeing an increased availability of platforms available (either via software packaging or cloud offering) to simplify the PMO function. These tools will often facilitate the input and output of information for PMO, Project, and Management of both.

With a flooding market, PMOs need to carefully judge the tools as they would any other with a thorough assessment for their organisation, its scalability, its ease of use and its support offering.

4.      Partnering

Partnering is becoming essential, now more than ever. This means extending partnerships beyond delivery and into other organisational departments. It allows for agile escalation paths and effective exception management. Delivery methods are adapting and accelerating, and we need to bring the rest of the organisation along the journey.

We believe this will be owned by PMOs, and thus expectations from managers and delivery teams will increase. No longer is PMO trying to fill the gaps of inadequate technologies, process and organisation. Instead, as businesses become leaner, we will be increasingly called upon to demonstrate success and provide excellence in business partnership and service.

5.      New ways of working

As the number of organisations adapting to newer ways of working is increasing, PMOs begin to strategise how they align a traditional PMO to meet the organisational governance requirements. These ways of working, both with methodology and culture, impact how projects are delivering products and services.

As such, there are elements within the traditional PMO that will inevitably change.

The opportunity here is that PMO can use principles of these newer ways of working to facilitate transformation of the PMO itself; bringing value to projects and to the business; utilising feedback from stakeholders to provide transformational direction.

The challenge for PMO is the transformation itself. It needs to support, have sufficient oversight of an increased number of projects (both small and large), and not hinder creative delivery. It must balance the organisational requirements, driving this both up and down the value chain, along with delivery requirements. This becomes extremely prominent when PMO’s role is to ensure projects align with, and continue to align with, organisational strategy. How this works is unique to every organisation.

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