3 Tips to Generate High Impacts as a PMO

What does it mean that you generate high impacts as a PMO? Let us review what an impact is and how PMOs can be high-impact.

The challenge

The noun “impact” has indeed two meanings:

  1. An impact is the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.
  2. An impact is also a marked effect or influence on someone or something.

Many PMOs basically focus on tracking and reporting on project progress.

Some organize, run, and develop project, program, and portfolio management systems, processes, methods, tools, and teams.

Others have even much larger scopes of responsibility. They play more strategic roles. Among those are the Enterprise PMO or the Strategic Initiative Officer (SIO).

Yet, a few PMOs only deserve the term “high-impact”.

Those High-Impact PMOs are able to create sudden, powerful, and positive effects on their environment. What do they have in common ?

High-Impact PMOs come into contact

First, High-Impact PMOs “come into contact”.

These PMOs are not hidden behind a computer screen. They provide more than a “back office” support.

They organize and animate encounters with a variety of stakeholders. So, they listen to the expectations, needs, or constraints of all.

They learn and practice all sorts of Human Dynamics. And they love to apply them to an ever-growing network of allies that they build over time.

This PMO will for example realize and regularly update a network analysis of the stakeholders’ community.

It will identify the nodes, the relationships, and their characteristics. It will then work on these relationships and their effect on the community’s behavior seen as a complex adaptive system.

This is for example the case in most governmental projects that concern numerous groups of people, especially with a weak majority and more or less intransigent minorities. This is also the case in all major projects that engage people from diverse functions, industries, and nationalities.

They Play a Strategic Role

Then, High-Impact PMOs play a strategic role.

They facilitate actively and responsively the successful implementation of strategic initiatives over time.

Because they meet high-level executives, they understand their vision and their strategic goals. They thus become able to make sure that the endeavors they enable are strongly aligned with these goals.

To play this role, they develop a strategic thinking in everything they do.

The PMO will for example focus primarily on company mission-critical projects and investments.

It will challenge their alignment with strategic goals, their interdependencies, and even challenge the strategic goals when unclear or not coherent.

A typical case where this two-way challenge happens can be found in major transversal supply chain projects within a fast-moving business model.

They enable powerful effects

Finally, High-Impact PMOs enable rapid, powerful, and lasting effects.

These PMOs continuously observe their environment. They develop and maintain a series of options that hedge their project or portfolio against unfavorable unexpected events.

Conversely, they expose them to the occurrence of favorable opportunities that they seize without delay.

This requires from these PMOs unusual knowledge in strategy and change management as well as in all sorts of sciences like complexity or behavioral sciences.

Such a PMO will create for example an initial shock.

He will detect early on systemic biases in the initial cost estimates of a major program. He will immediately recommend, if necessary, that the level of investment or the duration of the program be significantly readjusted (increased), even if this generates enemies around him.

The Differences Between a PMO And a High-Impact PMO

As a conclusion, the three characteristics below are the differentiators that make certain PMOs carry the label of “high-impact” PMOs.

Here are thus three words to retain:

  1. Contact
  2. Strategy
  3. Effect

Do you agree? What are your thoughts?

To your success

Philippe

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