PMOs Help Resilience and Sustainability of Organisations

By Sheila Roberts

Project / Programme Managers and Project / Programme Management Offices (PMOs) are vital in this unprecedented time to build resilient, sustainable and scalable systems. Business Agility enables an organisation to respond appropriately supported by PMOs to respond and change at pace.

This is an opportunity to review your current situation, identify where you would like to be and prepare. Whilst we are all adapting to changing how we are working we do not have the usual social commitments to hobbies, clubs, friends and family.

For people on furlough work is also suspended, giving lots of time to consider what you really want to do. Have you thought it would be great to get that promotion but didn’t have time to gain the experience or study for the qualification required? 

We also know that there could be unknown risks for which the probability and impact is not known before hand, but an effective risk response strategy linked to change management allows rapid responses. Covid was not likely to have been on your risk register but there are many changes required as a result – even if it has had a positive impact on your business.

The sustainability of projects is required for future scalability and to achieve economies of scale.. The sustainability of the projects must address the following aspects: –

  1. Organizational Sustainability – PMOs build a culture which allows repeatable and standardised ways of executing projects to achieve repeatability. They also standardise governance, methodology and reporting to provide consistency in terms of measuring progress and performance.

However, when there is volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) an evolutionary and adaptable (agile) way of execution, replication and scaling projects works well for sustainability.

  1. Economic Sustainability- Financial sustainability includes the benefits to be realised from the costs incurred. A sustainable financial model is one which has a higher Net Present Value (NPV), higher internal rate of return (IRR) and is viable to its creditors and debtors.

The economic sustainability needs to ensure that the project fits with the overall business strategy. At the same time, there is a need to define an economic trajectory. Earned Value Management (EVM) is an approach that helps identify and measure variances in projects by comparing the work performed and work planned. EVM allows mapping variances with future economic sustainability.

  1. Community Sustainability- The PMOs role is transforming into communities of practice (COP) which focus on learning, skills development, sharing knowledge and community involvement.
  2. Environment Sustainability- Areas of corporate social responsibility such as climate change, pollution, public health, zero carbon emission or any topics which impact wider society also affect PMOs, which need to ensure they are taken into account in projects, programmes and procedures.

In view of these areas, the roles of project /programme managers and PMOs is immense in creating a resilient and globally sustainable ecosystem by implementing a strategic context and culture to create an economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally sound project management domain, practices and competencies.