Evolve, Rinse, Repeat: Next-Gen PMOs In Action

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by Cyndee Miller

Disruption isn’t just change on steroids. It signals a fundamental shift in an organization’s DNA and how it sees itself—like say, when Australia’s largest telecom Telstra set out to become a world-class tech company.

It was a bold move—that was fizzling. So after an external assessment revealed 30 percent of Telstra’s capital investment projects were missing the mark, the company created a central PMO. Fast-forward about five years: 100 percent of its benefit KPIs are on track—and Telstra is named the 2018 PMO of the Year.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, said Rob Loader, PMP, as he accepted the award at PMO Symposium with Peter Moutsatsos, PMP, the company’s chief project officer. The PMO had to transform the entire company culture, introducing a enterprise-wide gating model and creating a team of engaged sponsors.

“It’s been five years of blood, sweat and toil but also tears of joy and satisfaction as well,” said Mr. Loader.

But he also acknowledged that the PMO will need to “continue to evolve in a very different world both for telecoms and for project management.”

Kudos to Telstra and other two finalists that deftly navigated disruption in their own right:

Financial services companies, cutting-edge innovation—now there are two phrases that rarely go together. But Sloenvian insurance company Triglav Group knew a tech transformation was the only way to address changing consumer habits. To avoid the failures it had seen with past large-scale digitization projects, Triglav elevated its PMO giving it a direct link to the C-suite and the board of directors. Already one of southeastern Europe’s largest financial institutions, Triglav is now in a prime position for future growth, with the PMO’s digitization efforts helping the company post a 160 percent jump in online sales—and a 15 percent drop in operating costs.

PMOs are fairly de rigeur in just about every sector at this point, but a PMO in a school district definitely got my attention—especially when I saw the results. Tacoma Public School District serves more than 30,000 students in the U.S. state of Washington, but educators were struggling to keep kids engaged. With the PMO’s help in running innovation projects, though, the district saw graduation rates jump from 55 percent in 2010 to 86 percent in 2016. And they did it with hyper efficiency, raising the project completion rate from 10 percent to 90 percent over four years. With those kinds of numbers, the PMO is turning into a model for other school districts—and has spurred an interest in project management among administrators, teachers and even students

Look for in-depth features of the three PMOs in upcoming issues of PM Network and check out video case studies on PMI’s YouTube channel.

Or perhaps your PMO is ready for the spotlight? Check out how to apply for the PMO of the Year Award here.

Posted by Cyndee Miller on: November 16, 2018 01:53 AM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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An inspirational story. Thanks.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing

I wouldn't mind seeing the detail behind those benefit KPIs, that the mentioned PMO used to measure project success, such as what they were, and how they were measured. All too often, PMOs are focused on reporting KPIs that mostly serve to demonstrate that the PMO is in control (of projects), rather than whether the PMO (and the projects being managed) are truly succeeding in delivering successful outcomes to the customer.

Thanks for sharing. This is wonderful

Success of PMO depends on how it can hold onto to execution for urgent & long term Business needs. It should not get too much into process adherence and governance which some time can impact Business goal deliveries

Symon, couldn't disagree more. As the PMO evolves, members must concentrate on the
metrics by which their projects are measured as well as how process effectiveness is determined. While there must be a concerted effort to identify processes which require improvement, data collection and indicators (graphs, charts, etc.) must directly support both project and organizational goals. We can’t manage what we can’t measure, and unless all the projects in the company can be held up to the light and compared to each
other, we have no way of managing them strategically, no way of making intelligent resource allocation decisions, no way of knowing what to delete and what to add. The PMO will assist in making these key decisions.

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