Some approaches to managing projects in a structured way
Most project fails – various statistics indicate the percentage of successful projects is around 30%. We think it is lower – if you measure success in terms of value created for shareholders and other stakeholders, including society. In today’s uncertain business landscape, organisations are seeking ways to better manage change, i.e. growth or evolution.
The traditional Project Management Office (PMO) is now often considered bureaucratic, slow and disconnected. Many organisations are exploring alternatives to navigate change.
In this article, we focus on the Change Management Office (CMO), touch on other options, and provide insights on choosing the best one for your organisation.
Change Management Office
It can be just another name for the PMO. Or it can be a dedicated group within an organisation focused on managing strategic change initiatives. It can provide a range of services, including assessing the impact of change on stakeholders, planning and executing change (projects), communicating progress, and offering training and support to stakeholders during the transition.
Here is why a CMO can be a valuable alternative to the PMO:
- Focus on people – the CMO prioritises helping individuals adopt and adapt to change, recognising that people are key to the success of any project
- Independence – CMOs tend to operate independently from project teams, allowing them to provide objective advice and support
However, it is crucial to consider potential challenges:
- Resources – a CMO requires access to resources, such as skilled people, technology tools, and support from the board and management team
- Integration – successful CMOs hinge on seamless integration with other parts of the firm, e.g. project teams and functions
It can be an effective alternative to the PMO for organisations that are facing significant strategic change.
In response to the limitations of traditional PMOs, many organisations are adopting Agile methodologies. Agile promotes self-organising teams where project management responsibilities are distributed among team members.
Some organisations opt for hybrid approaches that blend elements of traditional PMOs and Agile teams.
In addition to these specific alternatives, some organisations are also choosing to replace the PMO with a more decentralised approach. This may involve giving project managers more autonomy and responsibility, and supporting them via functions or business units, rather than a PMO.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It is a framework for assessing the sustainability of a company. ESG factors can include a company’s climate change impact, social responsibility initiatives, and corporate governance practices. ESG is increasingly important to investors, customers, and employees.
We consider the CMO a particularly good option to integrate ESG into a business. The CMO can also play an important role in communicating the company’s ESG progress to stakeholders. For more on ESG integration, see our article: How to integrate ESG into your business.
Selecting the right alternative for you
Choosing the best PMO alternative for your organisation involves several steps, including:
- Assess your needs – understand your organisation’s project management challenges and define your goals for improvement. Identify the specific pain points you aim to address
- Evaluate culture and maturity – consider your organisation’s culture and maturity level. The chosen alternative should align with your organisational ethos and capabilities
- Involve stakeholders – gather input from all stakeholders during the development phase to ensure that the chosen approach caters to the needs of the parties involved
Be prepared to adapt your chosen alternative over time, as organisational needs and objectives evolve.
In the quest for effective change management, the traditional PMO may not be the right fit for every organisation. Alternative structures like the Change Management Office, Agile Teams, and hybrid models offer organisations the flexibility to tailor their approaches to their specific needs.
When considering alternatives, carefully weigh the benefits and challenges associated with each option. This way, you will increase your chances of successfully implementing a PMO alternative that works for your organisation, especially in times of significant change.
To learn how we can help your businesses manage change better: