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Digital Transformation Office and Citizen Development

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By Mario Trentim

Businesses and society as a whole are facing change and disruption at higher rates than ever before. To manage complex organizational transformations, we need more than project management. It is necessary to strategize and innovate, coordinating larger and more complex transformation initiatives. This article will discuss the rise of the Transformation Offices, portfolios, and programs dedicated to promoting and sustaining change in organizations, and whether Citizen Development can help bring even further transformation.

 

Will Transformation Offices replace PMOs?

Before I answer the question, it is vital to emphasize that Project Management Offices (PMOs) are usually responsible for tactical and operational activities related to portfolio, program, and project management.

Although we have Enterprise PMOs (EPMOs), traditional portfolios and projects are extensively focused on continuous improvement. Research and Development PMOs (R&D PMOs) focused on innovation, but they are also not "transformational" in essence.

Finally, research and experience show that transformation and change management involves specific types of portfolios, programs, and projects that lower organizational hierarchy levels cannot handle. Because of that, a Transformation Office might be a combination of strategy, business analysis, innovation, and portfolio project management.

According to McKinsey & Company, the transformation office's role is to coordinate and provide oversight to strategic transformational initiatives, ensuring that all participants have a "single source of truth" and reinforcing the change-management goals.

 

A transformation's success depends on the regular drumbeat of the

Transformation Office, on clear communication,

and an action-oriented tone.

 

In summary, PMOs will not be replaced because we have an increasing number of projects at all organizational levels in different departments or areas. However, there is a high and increasing demand for project management professionals skilled in change management, transformation, and technology.

New trends support the case for a Transformation Office not only because people are the real key to digital transformation but mainly because there is no escape from the future of work and new business models. Finally, despite organizations knowing they have to reinvent and disrupt themselves, 70 percent of corporate transformation efforts fall short of their goals.

My point is that this staggering high failure rate has three major causes:

  1. Confusion between transformational and non-transformation initiatives;
  2. Insufficient or inappropriate change management activities; and,
  3. Lack of competency and skills.

 

What does a Successful Transformation Office look like?

Since the typical workforce lacks the critical mass of technology skills, “even when technologies are in place, too many of companies’ processes remain stuck in the pre-transformation world, to say nothing of the disconnect that remains between IT and systems groups and the rest of the business.” (McKinsey & Company)

Effective Transformation Offices are a combination of a Citizen Development Center of Excellence and a Project Management Office that can help organizations combine technical know-how with soft capabilities.

Project managers, business analysis, and citizen developers are change-makers by nature. When working together in a coordinated fashion, PMs, BAs, and CDs are capable of building relationships and common understanding among business functions and technology, paving the way for a successful transformation.

The PMI Citizen Development canvas (Figure 1) summarizes a framework to guide successful organizational transformations. Starting at the Project Delivery section, hyper-agility provides guidance to lean approaches and prototyping based on innovative techniques of the Ideation 2.0 while all ideas and proposals shall be evaluated according to the Suitability Assessment. A Transformation Office is also responsible for Capability Development which includes Business Analysis and Design, Enterprise Risk Requirements, and Application Development.

Figure 1 – PMI Citizen Development canvas (PMI.org)

 

In order to set up and operate a successful Transformation Office, we need people proficient in business analysis and strategizing, project management and agile approaches, citizen development and technology acumen. Considering the diversity of disciplines involved, the Citizen Development framework is the glue that holds a coherent and unified approach to organizational transformation.

Is it time for a Citizen Development Office?

Well, it looks like the 70 percent failure rate shows that transformations are not being properly managed by traditional PMOs. Instead of creating different names (Strategy / Vision Realization Offices, Transformation Management Offices, Agile Project Management Offices, and more), I advocate that it is time to add a new framework to our existing change-makers toolboxes: PMI Citizen Development, a handbook for creators and change makers.

 

“Besides being respected and credible, the leader of the transformation office should be technically proficient, understand the affected business domains, and have a strong relationship with technical teams.” (McKinsey & Company)

 

In my next articles, I will provide you with step-by-step examples using the tools and techniques described in the Citizen Development canvas (Figure 1). And I will tell you how organizations are embracing citizen development by describing successful (and unsuccessful) case studies.

What are your thoughts on this? If you want to listen to this article and previous articles, check out my podcast here. Please leave your comments and join the conversation below. 

Posted by Mario Trentim on: April 08, 2021 12:00 PM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Mario
Very interesting this theme that brought to our reflection and to debate
Thanks for sharing and your opinion
Your proposal is just another square in the organizational structure ...
I look forward to new articles on the topic

avatar
JOSE ROBERTO LYRA Manager| vcs²pro-consulting services Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Great insights Mario! Thanks for sharing I look forward for to the next article. Also thanks for tips about the books .... it's all about people !
Best!

avatar
Henry Velasquez Director| EXPOVIA S.A.S. Colombia
Interesting consideration regarding the future of project management professionals. I believe that there are no job losses or disappearance of jobs, there is simply transformation, the transformation that you suggest in your article.

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