From Kill the PMO to Creating an Elite PMO

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The Project Management Institute's annual events attract some of the most renowned and esteemed experts in the industry. In this blog, Global Conference, EMEA Congress and experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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Categories: Agile, Complexity, PMOs


From Kill the PMO to Creating an Elite PMO there are some exciting sessions to look forward in the PMO area of focus at the congress.  I will be leading the first session on Sunday morning, Kill the PMO! Some of you are probably excited about this idea of killing the PMO and others are wondering, why?

“When will the PMO stop us from conducting business…” was a comment I heard recently from a frustrated executive in a financial services organization. Often, PMOs are guilty of unclear, complicated processes that are costly in terms of time, rework, frustration and simply conducting business. These complicated processes are like creepers and weeds that can spread and strangle healthy plants and trees if not controlled in time.

What comes to mind when you think about the “PMO?” 78% of the respondents in our survey said more work, documentation, red-tape and bureaucracy.  This perception of bureaucracy is a critical issue for PMOs and a number one reason for push-back and lack of buy-in and acceptance for many PMOs.

Today’s DANCE-world (Dynamic & changing; Ambiguous & uncertain; Non-Linear; Complex and Emergent & unpredictable) has caused increasing disruption in business and beyond. To survive in a disruptive world speed and agility are key and simplicity is a strategic imperative. How do you create a start-up culture that gives you a competitive advantage and guard against bloat and bureaucracy that slows you down? As one executive in a global conglomerate remarked, “our enemy is not the competition, it is unnecessary complexity in our processes.” You have to create a culture where you can work together and focus on initiatives and projects that matter the most, make jobs easier, simplify processes and enhance customer experience. Organizations like General Electric, ConAgra, Vanguard and others have embraced simplification as a strategic initiative.

Just like the Phoenix the PMO can rise from the ashes and resurrect itself as the Department of Simplicity. The vision for starting and sustaining PMOs should be that they are the Department of Simplicity within the organization. There is a rallying cry to simplify organizations and government in today’s disruptive world and simplification is become a strategic imperative for speed and agility in many organizations.  

In this not-to-miss session we will discuss how the PMO needs to kill the traditional perception of bureaucracy and re-invent itself as the Department of Simplicity. We will discuss how the PMO can take a leadership role to identify opportunitiesto focus on simplicity and dedicate itself to identify and reduce unnecessary overhead and complicatedness. You will walk-away with practical ideas and techniques from real-world PMOs that will help you to increase buy-in, support and win raving fans for your PMO.

The other PMO sessions range from building a PMO from the Ground-up to Starting-up an Enterprise PMO. Also Change Management and Creating an Elite PMO through collaboration are featured. I am also excited about finding out more about how to Incorporate PM Best Practices even when the PMO is not supported by the organization. Here is a listing of the PMO area of focus sessions:

NA14INP01: Kill the PMO! Resurrect the Department of Simplicity

IntermediateSunday, 26 October
10:45 AM–12:00 PM
NA14INP02: Incorporate PM Best Practices into the Business when a PMO is not Supported

IntroductorySunday, 26 October
1:15 PM–2:30 PM
NA14INP03: Change Management as a Project: Building a PMO

IntermediateSunday, 26 October
2:45 PM–4:00 PM
NA14INP04: Creating an Elite PMO: Solving Challenges Through Collaboration

IntermediateSunday, 26 October
4:15 PM–5:30 PM
NA14INP05: Building a PMO from the Ground Up: Three Stories, One Result

IntermediateTuesday, 28 October
10:45 AM–12:00 PM
NA14INP06: Starting up an Enterprise-Wide PMO

IntroductoryTuesday, 28 October
1:30 PM–2:45 PM

Even if you are not directly involved with PMOs, attending PMO sessions at the congress will provide a broad perspective on contemporary issues facing organizational project management (OPM). If you want to find out what is trending in PM it might be a good idea to attend some of these sessions.

Posted by Jack Duggal on: October 14, 2014 11:50 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Great insights.
In my experience implementing PMOs, I observed big reduction in the bureaucracy perception when all the paperwork and processual template stuff are absorbed by the PMO, which serves the PMs with all back office processment and communications support. The PMs are freed from extra load and served with good Intel to make tactic decisions and manage stakeholders and product integration.

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