I have been watching a long thread on another site. A question was asked, “What are the top areas a PMO can add value?” I have been both amazed and disheartened at the myriad of answers to this question. So many of the answers concentrated on the technical workings of a PMO – do this process, use these tools, ensure governance and compliance, build the level of maturity, manage the portfolio – on and on – ad nauseam.
How about this? The business decides what is most valuable. For one business it may be portfolio management, for another it may be resource management, yet another, ensuring the right projects are undertaken. It could even be ensuring the delivery of successful projects.
Just as in the marketplace, the customer always determines the value of goods and services. It is a very myopic view to think that the PMO will determine what is valuable to the business. We cannot say that there is any one or two or three top values a PMO can deliver.
As I said earlier, without knowing the needs of the business, a PMO will not deliver value to that business. Each business will have different needs and it is the PMO that meets the needs of that particular business that will provide the most value to that business. So the answer to this question is "it depends." It depends on each individual business.
The PMO needs to be supportive of the objectives of the business. For example, if the business objective is to be the first in a market with new products, then the PMO's greatest value-add will be to actively support the business in this objective.
I strongly believe PMOs need to reject the old view of governance and compliance and focusing on being a partner with the business, providing leadership and services that will ensure the successful attainment of the business objectives. Then, and only then, will the PMO truly add value to the business.
It's all about the constituents of the PMO and their needs. It’s all about the business.