Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You: The PMO’s Role in Rebuilding Trust

Relevant. Valued. Capable. All are critical traits in an effective PMO. But the PMO is increasingly being called on to prove its ability to support executive decision making by delivering reliable and accurate information.

Recent survey results published on CIO.com.au suggest that 80% of Australian c-suite executives and financial professionals base their business decisions on inaccurate financial data. It’s a very sobering read.

Regardless of the cause the impact of poor quality or inaccurate information can cause a range of issues such as reputational damage, poor investment decisions, corporate reporting failures, and of course project delivery issues.

And it’s not a long stretch to suggest that if executives believe they are working with inaccurate financial information, they very likely feel the same way about project information.

In the project landscape, the responsibility for upward information flow typically rests with the project management office (PMO). What can the PMO do to ensure there is confidence in its ability to delivery timely, reliable, and accurate project information?

The PMO: Establishing its Value is Imperative

Value is subjective, but we regularly see the ripple effective of high performing PMOs delivering positive impacts to stakeholders.

In our experience, when projects succeed it’s usually because the right information is getting to where it needs to be and that establishes real trust in the project’s ability to deliver value into the business.

For a PMO to be enduring and effective, it must be valued by the whole organisation, be resourced with the right level of skill, and have the experience to take on the scale and diversity of projects it needs to deliver. The PMO also has to stay relevant and adapt to the organisation’s needs, providing the services that are required to achieve business objectives.

When viewed through a customer-centric lens, the starting point is understanding the needs of the stakeholder then working back to the organisation’s goals. That ‘golden thread’ is a critical piece of the information flow.

If the PMO is a Driver in Trust, Why are so Many Struggling to Stay Relevant?

PMOs are charged with delivering change and driving transformation into an organisation. But as we often see, change is at times unwelcome and received with hostility, political interference, agendas being challenged, and confusion when the ‘why’ of that change is poorly communicated.

If the changes the PMO must drive are unwelcome, especially with respect to executives, is there any chance of it ever succeeding, no matter the burning need for the capability the PMO will bring to the organisation or the quality of the team rolling it out?

In Reviving the PMO: Phoenix or True Success we explored the concept of culture and how understanding and working within a culture is the most effective way to be successful.

The premise is simple: For a PMO to succeed, it has to be leading the change.

Based upon our myriad of experiences we believe the best place to start is elevating the PMO’s position within the organisation with the right level of expertise and experience sitting at the executive table. Having the PMO lead as a peer that holds each and every executive to account will be a critical enabler of success.

An Enforcer of Policy … or a Leader in Developing Trust?

Whilst the PMO will naturally become an ‘enforcer’ of policy and process, the key element for its success will be ensuring that the executive can see its value, while at the same time holding the exec to account. A smart and strategic PMO will recognise that whilst they have to enforce the rules, they also need to look deeper at what will provide value for the executive.

For many PMOs, delivering value to their stakeholders will be achieved through working with and supporting the professional development of the executive team with leadership, change management and portfolio management.  The focus should be on helping the executives deliver their business outcomes whilst complying with the standards required – the trick will be where the line is drawn.

Ensuring the PMO is Fit-for-Purpose

The final element in achieving success for the PMO is (and always will be) ensuring people, policy and processes are fit for purpose for the organisation.

The right PMO will anchor in governance and assurance, providing invaluable capability in the essential services of yearly master planning, prioritisation frameworks, and portfolio planning.

As and when they move through the ‘what’, and then into the ‘how’ by leveraging the most relevant delivery methodologies, a quality, relevant PMO will ensure that projects have the best opportunity for success.

As project specialists, we develop fit-for-purpose strategy and project assurance.  Contact us here to find out more about how we work with your teams or call 02 9098 6300.

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About Quay

Quay Consulting
Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...

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