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For today’s strategic PMO, real business transformation begins at home


What do people really mean when they talk about business transformation? And why do we seem to be hearing so much about business transformation within the context of project and program management? Perhaps a few insights from this year’s Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit in Orlando can help to answer those questions.

The future belongs to those who embrace it

One of Gartner’s Distinguished Analysts, Dale Kutnick, offered his thoughts during the event’s keynote session about what the world might look like 15 years from now. A variety of external trends – from population growth to the impact of increased digitalization, automation and analytics across all aspects of our lives – were cited as factors he thinks will be driving business transformation in the not-so-distant future.

Like us, Gartner sees digitalization as a key component to driving transformation within PPM. They see the move to digitalization as just a waypoint on the journey toward a world in which powerful algorithms eventually help autonomous business to drive better business decisions. From Über ride-sharing to customized social media user experiences based on usage patterns and user data, examples of this type of automation are becoming more and more common. So it stands to reason that this same type of disruption could very well be coming soon to a PPM platform near you.

There’s more to PPM than just project management

That doesn’t mean that robots will take over the management of all of our projects and programs tomorrow. But the message from this year’s Gartner Summit is clear. As project management professionals, we need to begin thinking more strategically, and embrace the tools and techniques of digitalization and automation to better position ourselves to truly orchestrate business transformation. To do this, PMOs must move beyond the tactical and begin adopting a more strategic mindset to gain transparency across the entire enterprise.

What all of us as PPM professionals are beginning to realize is that the status quo of operating in silos is over. Business transformation can only occur when systems, organizations, tools and processes are connected to each other. But to do that, we need the right capabilities that provide a comprehensive view into all aspects of the projects and portfolios we manage. This in turn provides the insight needed to drive smarter and more-timely investment decisions. In short, transforming your business begins with transforming how you approach PPM.

The road to PPM maturity starts with a strategic mindset

By moving beyond a purely tactical role, PMOs adopting a more strategic mindset are actually able to better manage projects as the business investments they are. Progressing in PPM maturity, we begin to understand that projects are not created in a vacuum – they are funded to enhance an app, launch a product or support some other initiative or capability. Embracing this truth enables you to transcend simply being the master of tactical project and program delivery by adopting a strategic mindset that transforms the typical PMO into the “CFO of all strategic project and program investments.”

The insight needed to connect the dots across the entire enterprise comes from understanding how every investment inter-relates with each other, as well as with the strategic capabilities that they support. When this newfound transparency into all enterprise investments is combined with a robust PPM discipline, multi-year roadmaps can be leverage to manage portfolios across the enterprise and better understand exactly how our scarce budgets and resources are being consumed. It’s at this point which we begin to more effectively accept the challenge as project management professionals to truly drive real business transformation within our organizations. Because the only way that our businesses will be able to successfully transform is if project management professionals dedicate ourselves to taking a much more active role in orchestrating that transformation.