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  • Writer's pictureKathy Shonaiya

The Strategic Side of PMO Success

Many organizations see the Project Management Office (PMO) as tactical - tracking metrics, optimizing resources, and maintaining plans. But tactical skills alone can't guarantee PMO success in today's shifting business landscape. Organizations must also incorporate strategic planning to realize the PMO's full potential and demonstrate its enterprise-wide value.

Being strategic means looking beyond tactics to articulate the PMO's broader organizational contributions - enhanced agility, improved customer satisfaction, and accelerated growth. Rather than operate in isolation, an effective PMO integrates with company-wide initiatives. With strategy as their guide, PMOs shift from reactive to proactive in driving excellence.

A strategy helps PMOs identify and prioritize tactical improvements that align with organizational goals, not just generic best practices. A strategic outlook strengthens PMO partnerships with business units and leadership by demonstrating relevance. This gains buy-in and resources to execute strategic plans. Securing executive sponsors is key to pursuing enterprise initiatives.

PMO strategy must align with the organization's "true north" - its core purpose and principles. The PMO is empowered to drive meaningful change with executives owning and being held accountable to True North. Strategic ambiguity impedes PMO success. Transparent leadership is indispensable.

Without executive buy-in, the PMO risks relegation to tactical duties in a vacuum. Leaders must recognize and champion the PMO as a strategic partner that guides organizational strategy beyond enabling projects. With engaged sponsors, the PMO can achieve enterprise-wide influence and authority.

Strategic planning allows PMOs to avoid future challenges instead of reacting to circumstances. Scanning the horizon, PMOs can evolve to meet emerging needs like integrating AI capabilities. Staying ahead of trends keeps the PMO delivering maximum value.

The key takeaway - tying project management excellence to enterprise strategy cements the PMO as a vital business partner, not just an isolated function. As expert Dr. Harold Kerzner advises, savvy PMOs "lead through strategic planning and alignment. They don’t just follow the organization’s strategy – they help shape it." Maintaining a sharp strategic focus primes PMOs for enduring success.

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