Aligning with What Matters

Driving change across an enterprise starts with alignment with what matters. To align with what matters means to bring it back to the beginning and really master both the art and science of eastablishing a PMO.  This starts with finding the right people, and then having the right people, doing the right things, the right way. Then, once you have those foundational pieces are in place, then you can focus your energy on creating change and aligning your PMO with the needs of your business.

In part 1 of this series, we learned how to ask questions to understand. Asking questions to understand positions you as the “go to” resource for your leadership.  Positioning yourself as the resources to manage change allows you to become relevant to your business leaders. Becoming relevant is only half the mission, once you become relevant to your business leaders, you must figure out how to stay relevant if you want to be an invaluable solution to your organization. You can maintain your relevance to manage change simply by:

  • Keep talking, engaging, and asking questions.
  • Assessing for places where changes need to be made.
  • Investigate where the C-suite is spending their energy.
  • Work to improve your PMO capabilities to stay in touch with the needs of your stakeholders.

According to the Economist Survey: Why good strategies fail – Lessons from the C-suite, 61% of executives admit that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.

The C-suite sets organizational direction, which is realized through strategy implementation. The challenge is that many of those brilliant visionaries don’t know how to get the changes implemented. That’s where the PMO comes in and saves the day. They need you even if they don’t know it! You must be the strategy navigator for your organization.

Become the Strategy Navigator

How does your PMO become the strategy navigator? It starts with earning your seat at the strategy table during the definition of the strategy. Remember what happens when we assume?

Don’t just assume that they will know to invite you in or that you have the right to be there. Earn your invitation by demonstrating your value. Bring a needed skill or value to the table. The PMO can be the facilitator of the strategy definition process. Do whatever it takes to get in the room:

  • Offer to schedule the meetings, take the notes, and facilitate the process.
  • Gett the appropriate subject matter experts together to define the business strategy.

Once you are in the room, you are a part of the conversation and can earn your seat at the table.  You see, once you are a part of the conversation, you now have a firsthand look at the challenges the company is facing and what they are doing to solve them. You will hear what really matters and the thinking behind getting to where they want to go. You are now in the know.

Natural Progression

Once the strategies are defined, the PMO is the natural place for those changes to be managed. Are you ready for your seat at the table?

You have the experts, the tools, and the methodology that is necessary to deliver on the strategies that the c-suite is looking for. By earning your seat at the table during the strategy definition process, you are now also their trusted advisor and partner on executing the strategy implementation plan.

Finally, with the right portfolio management solution at your fingertips, you are now the place that the executives will go to find out how their initiatives are doing. Securing your spot as an invaluable resource to the leadership of the organization. When they need to know how things are going, they are coming to your PMO. This is the sweet spot, exactly where you want to be.

Dream of Success or Make it Happen

All of this brings us back to the art of the PMO, the people. Where you have your people aligned says a great deal about what you, as a PMO leader, value. Make sure you are aligning your talent against the portfolio of initiatives. This is not a simple act of drawing the short straw or randomly assigning team members.

Align your people according to their strengths, where relationships already exist, and where they have subject matter expertise. Having the right people will only get you so far, you must use the right person for the job. Just like every tool in the toolbox solves a different problem, you wouldn’t use a wrench to drive a nail.  Likewise, each change initiative will need a change leader with different strengths.

If you are unsure how to get there, revisit Part 2 of this series, How to Set Up A PMO Part 2.  Don’t skip this part, it is crucial to hire correctly. Hiring correctly ensures you have a team of change leaders that can fit the various types of business changes you will need to manage.

Aim for Evolution not Revolution

The PMO is and should be, a constantly evolving organization. You will learn new things every day about the organization, the people, the culture, and what it takes to be successful in meeting the stakeholder needs. Be aware, ask questions, and make sure your PMO remains agile so that you can respond as the needs shift. These techniques and an appetite for success are the keys to setting up an effective and sustainable PMO.