PMO – What’s in a Name?

From the PMO Insights – Where Leaders Meet Blog
by ,
The PMO Insights – Where Leaders Meet blog is the opportunity for PMO leaders—including attendees from previous PMO Symposium events—to connect, share experiences and gain actionable insights. We welcome your thoughts, posts, discussions and perspectives regarding PMO leading practices and practical knowledge. The goal of this blog is to enable PMO leaders to elevate the value of their PMO and deliver enduring outcomes and benefits for their organization.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Amanda Holm
Morten Sorensen

Past Contributers:

Quynh Woodward

Recent Posts

Drive additional value with your PMO

Building an Effective PMO—Building Trust

PMO – What’s in a Name?

PMO Leaders - Presenting at PMO Symposium®

What I Learned From Dick Costolo’s Opening Keynote at the PMO Symposium® 2018

By Quynh Woodward

In the PMO world, a name can be a topic of great discussion. The “P” in your PMO can provide a lot of information about your purpose. Are you focusing on projects, programs or portfolios? These days, you see many new acronyms for the PMO such as IMO (implementation management office), CDO (client delivery office), PSE (project success enabler), RMO (resource management office), VMO (value management office) and LACE (lean agile center of excellence).

Some PMOs may take on a new name to be more specific about their services and mission. Other PMOs may need to revamp their focus due to changing priorities. According to the 2018 PMI® Thought Leadership Series, The Next Generation PMO, 55 percent of PMO leaders indicate that the charter for their PMO changed in the past five years. Most of these changes are created to enable a closer alignment with strategic initiatives. And perhaps, at the root of these name changes is the desire to enhance perception and ensure that the PMO is more in sync with the organizational strategy.

Some PMOs are going further by focusing on a brand refresh to showcase their value proposition. Some PMOs are training their teams to be brand ambassadors, including how to introduce themselves and how to enable strategic relationships. It is no longer just about having the right name, but also the right brand message.

But how do you make sure that the new name or the brand message is more than just leveraging semantics?

At the recent PMO Symposium®, speakers discussed taking steps to assess and clarify the role and value contribution of the PMO.

These speakers analyze the PMO value contribution not just through benefits realization, but also through different lenses that the business understands such as customer centricity, agility, flexibility, productivity and quality. Is the PMO helping different business units to commit to the organizational strategy? Is the PMO driving transformation efforts to future-proof the business? Is the PMO helping to inform strategic business decisions? Is the PMO facilitating strategic communications to ensure advancement of critical projects?

In addition, it is important to analyze PMO practices to address any misalignment. Is the governance system too challenging to navigate? Is the PMO acting as an additional layer that can hamper the speed of delivery and innovation? Do team members have the skills to deliver strategic initiatives effectively? Can the PMO develop and sustain capabilities to drive stronger business outcomes? It is also necessary to assess stakeholder sentiments to get a good read on the organizational culture. What are the shared values, beliefs and assumptions? Are there ways to build a stronger bridge between the PMO and the business? The PMO needs to understand these aspects to ensure that the value contributions are in alignment with the organization’s goals and priorities.

These analyses enable PMO leaders to develop not only the right name and brand message, but also the right roadmap to align their role and activities, improve their capabilities, rouse their team to action, and extend the PMO brand power.

While each PMO is unique, and a PMO name change and brand refresh may be appropriate in some cases, it should not be just a sematic exercise, but rather a concerted effort to close the performance expectation gap. Have you thought about the name or the brand of your PMO? Did you change the name of your PMO recently? What did you do to enable a positive perception shift? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by Quynh Woodward on: March 29, 2019 08:55 AM | Permalink

Comments (7)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
PMO is no more a supporting function. PMO is equally responsible working closely with business leaders in achieving organization'goals. In large organizations or matured businesses, we will have very clearly defined Portfolio, Program & Project managers. However, in start ups or evolving businesses or small organizations, they may overall.

I love the first sentence in the last paragraph - great point

Interesting topic

Amazing read, thanks for sharing

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves."

- Bertrand Russell