How a focus on business transformation programme gave the right PMO solution

I recently spent a couple of days with a fast growing hi-tech company in snowy Stockholm.
I was invited to help them with their PMO deployment, but it soon became clear that their urgent needs were based on an upcoming business change. They needed to shift focus.

They were looking at their PMO needs because their business is growing FAST and they are running more and more projects, so they had identified the need for a PMO solution. However, the company founder has recently announced a new organisation structure. The business is expanding worldwide, and the company needs regional operations. It can’t operate only out of Stockholm any more.

We started out as planned, working on the PMO agenda. I took the team through the basic P3O guidance. P3O is the OGC guidance about Projects, Programmes and Portfolios (that’s the P3); and specifically, on the “Office” structure needed to support the P3. Just to be clear, “P3” plus “O” gives P3O. The offices are commonly called PMOs, but the guidance is called P3O.

During day one, the picture became clear. The new organisation chart announced by the boss was going to transform their portfolio structure. So indeed P3O could help. However, faced with business transformation, P3O is not enough.

The P3O guidance does explain that a transformation programme based on MSP is a good way to roll out your new PMO solution. However, in the context of imminent business change, what’s the way forward?

According to the P3O best practice, the best way to add a PMO solution to your existing business is by running a transformation programme. So it became clear to me that the way forward was to wrap the two initiatives together, both the business reorganisation AND the PMO solution, all in one transformation programme. The programme should address the immediate business reorganisation first; and postpone some of the less urgent PMO work to later.

So here is what we did in the remaining time. We covered a lot of ground!

Step 1: Make sure everyone understands the basics of Portfolio Management as the business reorganisation will create new portfolios. For this, I used the new Management of Portfolios guidance from OGC, which is called MoP

Step 2: Focus on the business transformation programme. As a meeting room exercise, we drafted some of the key documents of the early MSP processes, notably
– Vision statement
– Blueprint after business transformation, including some basic PMO elements

Step 3: Focus on the final goal, including additional PMO elements. We drafted more MSP documents
– Final blueprint
– Project dossier
– Risks

This leads to a two-tranche programme which should deliver short and medium term solutions. Tranche 1 is business reorganisation, supported by the basic PMO structure; tranche 2 adds a full-strength PMO solution.

This has to be two tranches. The major change of reorganisation will be a big effort for this company. The second tranche will consolidate the work of the first tranche; and drive out more benefits.

So the lesson is this. Don’t focus on PMOs when you need wider business change. The business change is the priority, and your PMO structure should come out of that change programme.

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Written by Jeff on March 15, 2011 in blog
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