IMPACT Insight: Help! My PMO is Under Attack!

Welcome to IMPACT Insight. This is the place for PMO leaders, Portfolio Managers, Program Managers, Project Managers, and Change Leaders to share insights and ask questions about how to drive high-IMPACT results in our organizations. I am here to answer your questions, so please leave a question below in the comments and let’s Get. It. Done!

Prefer to read instead of watch? Here is the transcript:

Hi. My name is Laura Barnard, and I’d like to welcome you to Impact Insight. Today we are going to address a very, very common concern that a lot of PMO leaders have, and many have reached out to me and said, “Help, what do I do? My PMO is under attack. We’re in budget season now, and there’s some question as to whether or not my PMO is going to make it.”

Okay. So, totally get it. I’ve been there. I built my first PMO back in 1999, and quite honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot of idea what I was doing back then, but I’ve learned a few things along the way and I’m going to share some of my favorite steps in figuring out how I can avoid, and how I can avoid for my team, to be on the chopping block when it comes time to looking at where the organization will find the resources to drive impact.

First things first. We’ve got to assess our current state and what value we’re bringing to the organization. If you’re new, and even if you’re not, you can look at assessing the business questions that you need to ask yourself and your organization as to where the pain points are. So, we’ve got to understand the business pain points and the “why”. I always go back to asking, “Why is the PMO there in the first place? What are the goals? The outcomes that you’re creating?”

You’re not creating templates and process and tools and coaching and project execution. That’s not what you’re there for. You’re there to drive high return on investment for the projects that the organization takes. So, the first thing we’ve got to do is go back to the why we’re there in the first place, and it’s not the things we normally think of. It’s not the things that you gotta build, it’s the things that they want to solve.

So, go back and look at the business problem that the organization needs to solve, and then figure out what services you can provide that are actually going to address that “why” statement. So, for example, if project throughput’s a real challenge, or if there’s complete chaos with projects and projects are all happening differently, or if they’re just not seeing that return on investment for their time and money and energy spent on projects, okay, those are good places to start.

Understand that “why”, what the business problems are you can solve, and then, define services that address that. Not only that, but you’ve got to define services very, very quickly and easily, that can be implemented before everyone gets bored with the concept of PMO and decides you’re out of there. That’s one of the things that … Just somebody that I was teaching just yesterday said to me, “You know what? Now I figure out where we went wrong. We just started implementing things that we knew they needed, but we hadn’t really addressed 

what the business challenges were, and tied what we’re creating and what we’re delivering to those business challenges.”

If you can do that, then you are going to be sure to have their attention, because what they want you to do is solve a business problem. So, go do that. Don’t make it so complicated. Don’t spend months or years building process and putting tools in place and creating templates that nobody’s going to want to look at anyway. I’m not saying you don’t need those things, but you just don’t need to start there.

Find a quick win. Find a way that you can drive impact, and let that story tell itself, and let your champions that you’ve now gained from solving problems help you tell the story of why your PMO is valuable and why it needs to be there for the long run.

Okay, that’s it for today. I hope that gives you something to think about. Always go back to the basics of why you’re there in the first place and what you can be doing to drive impact and get business return on investment, and you’ll be sure to have the right conversations that ensure sustainability with your PMO. Thank you so much, I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Please leave a comment below. Ask another question, and I will address it on a future video. Thank you so much.

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