Studying real life stories of PMOs who delivered exceptional value to complex projects, programs, and portfolios in a VUCA world taught me three secrets that enabled them. I am happy to share these three secrets that made them become High-Impact PMOs. Like the iridescence hummingbirds show while moving their feathers (read my previous article Why Agile PMOs Are Comparable to Hummingbirds), PMOs can deliver an impact when they learn and apply these 3 secrets.

Secret #1 – High-Impact PMOs Ceaselessly Develop Their Competencies

Project management requires project practioners to develop the traditional technical, business and strategy, and leadership skills. Complex project management requires complementing these basic skills with new capabilities in the domains of complexity sciences, multi-modal strategies, and human dynamics. Complexity sciences reinforce their comprehension of system dynamics, nonlinearities, uncertainties, network analysis to cite a few domains. Multi-modal strategies help them to design project approaches that take into account real world behaviors and the need for different levels of squareness and roundness during the project lifecycle. Human dynamics contributes to understand the individuals, teams, and social groups through the study of their history, their culture, their geopolitical situation, their behaviors and their interactions.

Secret #2 – High-Impact PMOs Develop a Premium Customer Orientation

Complex projects first purpose is to serve a population. They have a great many of stakeholders. Stakeholders (from team members to customers) expect and contribute to personal gains and organizational benefits. The High-Impact PMO focuses his or her work on maximizing both (while understanding from complexity sciences and game theory that it is useless to search for a global satisfaction of all). By doing so, the PMO considers stakeholders as “customers”, and his or her focus becomes customer-centric. Money is the result obtained when and if the population adopts the program goal. Not vice-versa. This is why program strategy maps and balanced scorecards used by High-Impact PMOs position the “customer” dimension on top, as the target of the value creation process, while the “finance” or “resource” dimension is at the bottom as an enabler.

Secret #3 – High-Impact PMOs Are Result-Oriented

Traditional PMOs focus their activities on processes, methods and tools, monitoring and reporting. High-Impact PMOs focus on delivering value to the project stakeholders. Instead of reporting on compliance to standards and pre-established plans (that are never followed in a complex world), they constantly maintain a forward looking view of the expected value. They connect people and groups together and maintain strong and frequent interrelationships. They detect roadblocks, they send alerts about milestones, benefits, and risks, and they prepare tough decision-making when needed. They do not limit their support to get the promised project output but they expand their support to the project sponsorship in order to make sure the project outcomes (benefits) are achieved.

Your comments and discussions are welcomed.

To your continued success!


This article has been inspired by my new Book