Thursday May 09, 2013

3 Dimensions of Business-Driven PMO Maturity

Wayne Caccamo, Sr Director, Product Marketing, Oracle

There is no shortage of maturity models in the PPM space that are very tactical in nature. From a business alignment perspective it is useful to talk about PMO maturity in terms of three dimensions: Approach, Scope and Impact.

pmo maturity dimensions

This also serves to clarify the vocabulary used in the industry around three common terms to describe PMOs, at least for the purposes of this blog article, but perhaps beyond. These terms have all blended together and are sometimes used inter-changeably. But, it would be useful to make some distinctions and standardize the industry conversation around some commonly accepted definitions as follows:

  • "Business-Driven PMO": This term is associated with the Approach dimension and it can be defined as the degree to which a PMO is driven by a business stakeholder and "customer-oriented" mindset

  • "Strategic PMO": This term is associated with the Impact dimension and can be defined as the level of impact on executive-level strategies, business processes, pain points, risks, portfolios and programs (versus projects, tasks, internal PPM methods and tools).

  • "Enterprise PMO": This term is associated with the Scope dimension and can be defined as the extent to which the PMO field of influence transcends organizational and functional boundaries and formal project and non-project/operational work.

In sum, Approach is about mindset, Impact is about strategic vs. tactical effect, and Scope refers to having influence across both functional areas and organizational boundaries and the spectrum of formal and non-formal project work.

The key message here is that it’s important to keep these maturity vectors in balance. For example, if the goal is high level of Strategic Impact than the focus will be on strategic initiative and program execution rather than project execution. This drives movement along the Enterprise PMO Scope in order to execute on strategic programs which typically transcend organizational boundaries. This, in turn, assumes a more Business-Driven approach supported by business leadership and an understanding of strategic objectives and metrics.

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