What will the Project Management Office (PMO) of the future look like?

April 03, 2023

Jennifer Duignan
Principal, PMO Managed Services, PwC US

Over the next five years, available technologies will likely continue to evolve, providing organizations with new services and capabilities. Competitive forces can also continue to challenge organizations to become more process efficient, cost effective and responsive to customers and people.

The future PMO can be a product of how organizations recognize these changes as opportunities and wisely invest in their ability to help capitalize and build business value in the dynamic business environment. PMOs will likely have to adapt and become critical agents of transformation.

Visionary leaders can be the chief driver in shaping the future PMO. They often will be the ones who see the PMO as an opportunity for innovation, strategic differentiation and an enabler of business outcomes. Perceptions of the PMO as a rigid and slow to adapt administrative cost center should fade as leaders question the current state and start to envision the possibilities of adopting a new PMO model.

Transformation begins with an awareness of current capabilities and an open mind. Leaders can begin to turn their PMO into an effective enabler of change by asking the right questions:

  • What can we do to enable better decision making?
  • How can we boost digital technology to help foster a customer-focused culture?
  • Do we have the PMO model that fits our needs?

Leaders have an opportunity to reimagine measurements of success and learn how to invest in an enabled, empowered and informed workforce that helps break from the traditional measures.

The future PMO model expands its focus to the impact of a program and the value it provides to the business. PwC’s Global Survey on Transformation and Project Management reveals that today’s high performing PMOs should speak the language of their organization when articulating their value. High performing PMOs communicate business critical measures through a well-developed benefits realization plan. By elevating the PMO into a multi-dimensional structure that factors in the perspectives of business, customers and technology, PMOs can pave the way for enhanced decision-making, optimal resource utilization and the effective realization of the business strategy.

The industry trend for the next iteration of the PMO should be a flexible, agile and responsive, service-based model that leverages the evolution of people, processes and technology. The most impactful factors to help drive business value are adopting methods that advance greater collaboration and faster delivery, adopting technologies that support distributed team communication and real-time data analytics and cultivating a dedicated workforce of focused project management professionals.

The modern project manager can transform into a “project influencer,” expanding their perspective from just scope, schedule and budget to help focus on influencing outcomes, building relationships and achieving the organization’s strategic goals.

Leaders can demand value and purpose-driven governance and structure in the new PMO. The new PMO should be both value-driven, with a seat at the C-suite table, and purpose-driven with implementation teams recruited from across the organization as well as trusted partners. PMO implementation models will be customized to help deliver the critical performance outcomes and the notion of a one-sized PMO will likely become obsolete.

The PMO of the future can be defined by how business leaders challenge the PMO of today, inviting an objective PMO maturity review to help identify improvement areas and define their strategic PMO plan. PMO transformations should become commonplace as business leaders engage with expert partners to help strategically source their PMO functions with implementation models that work for them including outsourced, co-sourced or point solutions.

PMO transformation is about the journey, not the destination. Transformation begins by defining the right scope and establishing a set of achievable objectives and realistic boundaries that are based on a well-researched expert maturity assessment.

Learn more about PwC’s Strategic PMO Sourcing

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