Updated: Aug 13
While PMOs have become a fixture in many organizations, the implementation of PMOs has not always been entirely successful. Organizations and key stakeholders can question the PMO's benefit, which can undermine the PMO's ability to make to drive projects and make a positive impact. PMOs can get lost in understanding their mission and scope of responsibilities, which causes them to seek out and manage initiatives that don't align with the purpose.
But how do PMOs solve these issues? A simple exercise is to lead a question storming session within the PMO team and key stakeholders to realign to a purpose. Asking questions in an open forum, where no answer is the wrong answer, can help surface assumptions, provide different points of view and open new doors to new ideas and possibilities. What is most important is having an open mindset and gathering as many ideas as possible from the PMO team and stakeholders. One key takeaway is not first jumping to a solution but leaning towards asking better questions that reframe the problem.
In his book "The DNA of Strategy Execution: Next Generation Project Management and PMO," Jack Duggal proposes a list of questions to ask in a question storming session to take a PMO to the next level. Shown below is a bank of questions but can be tailored to your particular situation. Ask the questions and seek answers in an open forum or collect the responses through an online survey.
What is the need for the PMO?
What PMO model is right for us?
What authority does the PMO have?
How we do we say "no" and make it stick?
If we started from scratch, how would we go about it?
How will we ensure we're aligned with overall business strategy?
What should the PMO stop doing?
Why do projects fail?
Why do people not like us?
What pain are we causing?
How can we drive the right behaviors?
What is our impact on people?
How are we changing how people feel about performing their jobs?
How do we define PMO success?
How will we measure success?
What processes should be improved?
How do we keep the PMO relevant?
Who are our customers?
How can we gain support we need from different stakeholders?
What are we doing well?
What are we not doing well?
What are our organization's pain points?
What can we adapt from other successful PMOs?
Do we have the right resources?
What environmental factors influence us?
What's our appetite for change?
How will we get feedback from our customers?
How should we train our resources?
How do we put structures in place but remain flexible?
How do we evolve as the organization changes?