Businesses’ new dynamic duo: Chief Transformation Officer and Project Management Office

May 2023

Jennifer Duignan
Principal, PMO Managed Services, PwC US

Businesses are sprinting on the transformation treadmill, perpetually pumping out projects to keep pace with relentless, rampant change. Often, even before a project ends, it changes again. As project lists grow more dynamic and diffuse, organizations are rolling out the welcome mat for a new member of the C-suite to orchestrate and manage change: Chief Transformation Officer (CTO).

CTOs are charged with aligning the organization’s strategic vision with change execution, working to confirm that organizations are staying up-to-date with tech, fostering a culture of innovation, increasing agility and flexibility and enhancing the customer experience. It’s a tall order, but the good news is that CTOs already have an agent on the inside who can help them accelerate change from day one: the modern project manager.

An old misconception exists that the project management role is simply reporting and scheduling—tasks that are increasingly, easily automated. But today’s top project managers leverage technology to free themselves to focus on the more important work: informing, inspiring and integrating people, which is integral to confirm projects deliver strategic value, elevating and evolving the goals of the business.

Culture is critical to catalyze and sustain change. Technology alone is not enough. In the people-powered business of transformation, the modern Project Management Officer and their team are assets to the rising, increasingly relevant CTO. Today’s project managers can take on the following roles—orchestrator, influencer and value driver—across the organization to toe the line of transformation in tandem with the CTO.

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Covid-19 lit a fire under modern project managers to establish processes to enable quick decision-making and delivery on their projects. The way they see it: rigor provides the structure that flexibility needs to stretch its arms. By striking the right balance between guardrails and freefall, today’s leading project managers focus on the organizational outcomes to help deliver against strategic organizational goals.


The highest performing project managers are multi-dimensional. They are skilled in the fundamentals—like scheduling, managing scope, controlling budget and reporting—but on top of this, they understand the business and possess emotional intelligence that powers their relationships. With an agile mindset, they leverage new technology to forecast and manage risk on a global scale while they craft messages, keep people engaged, staying focused on broader goals.

Value driver

The once tried-and-true measure of project management performance—the iron triangle of time, scope and budget—is insufficient to assess and achieve value. In today’s hyper complex environment, a cookie-cutter measurement framework is not specific enough to serve as a guiding force for transformation, tying the turmoil of change to the triumph of traction. When the time comes to report results, leading project management offices (PMOs) can articulate the value of transformation in a way that makes it personal for senior leaders, aligning it directly with the organization’s strategic goals in a compelling way.

The modern project manager and CTOs have the potential to emerge as a dynamic duo at a time when organizations need a hero. Projects are mounting. Technology is accelerating. Senior leaders are reeling. Together, the CTO and PMO can serve as an unstoppable force for strategic change, transformation that is aligned with the organization's mission, vision and values.

Learn more about PwC’s Project Management Office (PMO) Managed Services

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