Shifting economic, political and environmental factors mean we are living in a time of uncertainty. Brexit and fake news have become part of our everyday vocabulary, and we need to understand the impact this is having on our business.
Historically, the Programme Management Office (PMO) was a purely administrative function. It was still important, but not to the extent that it is now.
PMO’s are evolving to stay relevant by transforming ourselves into strategic, agile functions. This allows us to embed ourselves in programmes and projects, and consequently add maximum return to our customers.
In this blog post, I’m going to talk about the changes we’ve seen in the PMO – and what it means for the future.
The key to change: trust
As a company at the forefront of innovation we embrace change – and this starts with the PMO.
We want to consciously honour the fundamental elements that make us a PMO, even as we make big changes.
One crucial element of this change is trust, and the way we form trust relationships with the rest of the organisation and our customers.
Rachel Botsman, lecturer at Oxford University and speaker at Fujitsu Forum 2018, talked about the dynamic way we trust in technology calling it “a confident relationship with the unknown’.
Botsman also noted that trust “allows us to place our faith in new innovations and for society to move forward.” This trust is key in enabling change to happen – so in this time of change we need to trust in our people and processes to make the right technological decisions for our customers.
Change is a doing word
So far, we’ve made quite a few tangible changes to the way we do things.
We’ve transformed the structure of our PMOs to reflect portfolio working, and to keep close to our customers.
On top of this, we’ve widened the scope of EPO into EMEIA, and identified PMO Ambassadors to help us forge links across the division.
We’ve also reassessed our attitude towards our service description. Now we ensure that it is regularly updated to reflect the changing nature of our work and the requirements of our customers, including a clearly defined ‘what is the benefit of the service’ to successful programme and project (PPM) delivery.
Finally, we’ve also increased the role of the Centre of Excellence as a space for supporting effective Best Practice PPM delivery. This has come hand-in-hand with our use of focus groups, which has allowed us to keep close to what is needed.
There is no doubt that technology has been absolutely crucial in supporting our recent development of the PMO. We regularly make use of an external agile and collaborative tool, Mentimeter, to facilitate workshops and team meetings. This enables confidential participation from everyone, gaining immediate feedback and involvement and speeding the programme along.
This is on top of our ongoing development of ProjectHub, a one-stop-shop developed solution for all project governance and control. Again, this innovation powers effective cross-location collaboration, providing a single source of the truth at all times.
Conditions of change
Although I’ve talked a lot about the way the PMO has changed, I haven’t explained why it has changed.
It’s all about the conditions in the market. Our world is increasingly competitive, and customers (rightfully) demand value, relevance and strong knowledge of the sector.
In this climate, portfolio based PMOs make the most sense, since they provide both cost effective and resilient delivery of PMO services.
Fujitsu has been hugely innovative in their response to these market changes. We have recognised the need to develop our EPO Charter Template to act as a baseline contract with our customers, which gives mutual understanding and a point from which to deliver a flexible service.
Similarly, we’ve worked to define and deliver EPO Foundation Training, which we are now following up with the next level of EPO Practitioner training.
The last piece of the puzzle has been our key performance indicators (KPI’s). We have to measure and demonstrate our effectiveness, and finding a precise way to do this has been a challenge – but one that will make a big impact on our future success.
After all, we want to make sure that our PMO measures what matters.
Experiencing change on a personal level
I have worked at Fujitsu for twelve years, eight of which I’ve spent in the PMO. This means I’ve experienced the transformation of the PMO at first hand.
It has made a huge difference to my work already. As we try to drive cost effectiveness, we’ve started to incorporate a lot more virtual technology. I now manage my team through video conferencing and Skype, as opposed to the more traditional face to face method.
These technologies are great, especially when it comes to enhancing employee wellbeing. I know how a busy workplace can place pressure on someone, and in the past few months I have realised that virtual technology can be a powerful tool to connect people and foster a sense of team spirit.
I ran a wellbeing meeting recently which I feel bought us closer together as a team, albeit in a virtual and remote environment.
Making sure that strong networks exist across the PMO is crucial to alleviating the sense of pressure and creating a workplace where people can feel happy.
Onwards and upwards
We can’t be certain of many things in life, but we can be certain that things will change.
We are working hard to improve our service by listening to our users and constantly seeking better ways of doing things.
Every day we see the results coming to life: more effective PMO activities, better outcomes for our stakeholders, a strengthened sense of purpose and more effective project and programme delivery as a result!
Who knows what 2019 will bring? We can only continue to embrace innovation and remain strategically aligned in our modern business.