Aligning the PMO to Organizational Strategy

Basically, the PMO’s organization structure should reflect the above services with the addition of project management and application development to round things out. Also, these areas provide a great starting point for assessing the PMO’s talent levels in context to providing these services and functions.

Once a baseline has been established and the gaps between where the PMO is today vs. where the PMO needs to be to achieve initial alignment, a program for achieving that alignment can be developed.

3. Develop a three-to-five year PMOA Achievement Program Plan – The PMOA achievement program needs to have two key components. The first is the initial project to move the PMO from its current state to an aligned state. Second is a continuous recalibration process that keeps the PMO aligned. This second part of the program is on-going and should include the following:
• the PMO’s inclusion in the business planning process;
• formal peer relationship management process and 360o reviews (about every three years);
• regular publishing of the PMO’s alignment compliance status;
• periodic updates on industry best practices, competitive position, innovations, etc.;
• future opportunity strategies and plans of key vendors (to stay abreast of new approaches and tools);
• formal capabilities reviews at least every two years (people, tools, facilities, etc.).

4. Follow the Plan & Publish Progress – The final step is pretty straight forward. Follow the plan like you own it, because you do.

To be sure, alignment isn’t something that is achieved once and forever through a single project. Maintaining PMOA is a continuum that requires misalignment detection indicators. It is these indicators that are missing from most of the PMO governance models and frameworks. As a result, the PMO simply lacks the ability to target and resolve misalignments as they occur. The result is a slow degradation of the alignment state until the pain threshold becomes evident and clear; usually in terms of lost revenues, market-share and profits. Typically, this is followed by knee-jerk initiatives, micromanagement of the PMO and even loss of PMO leadership and staff jobs.

What is needed is a set of Key Alignment Indicators (KAI) that are generated by the day-to-day routine operations of the organization and fed back to those affected on as close to real-time as possible. Thus, it is imperative that the head of the PMO create a culture that is nimble, agile and responsive to continuous recalibration based on the knowledge gained via KAIs. In essence, the organization needs to incorporate a system of alignment biofeedback loops that provide the information and stimuli needed for the PMO to take the actions and initiatives needed to bring everything back into alignment.

An alignment-aware/self-actualizing PMO organization would represent the pinnacle of organizational maturity. Perhaps it can never truly be achieved but still, it is worthy of pursuit.

Okay, now it is your turn. I am hoping this article has provided you food-for-thought and reflection. Sharing those thoughts helps enhance the experience of your fellow practitioners. Your feedback, comments and observation are always much appreciated.

About the Author:

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine’s Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe. Currently Michael serves as the National Subject Matter Expert for Business Process Improvement for the world’s largest professional project management portal, projectmanagement.com.


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