Adding value?

I was going to entitle this one – PMO’s – so much more than admin. But the phrase that comes up when I speak to PMOs who want to make the move away from admin and support is into ‘adding value’.

Whenever I then probe what they want to actually do then it all gets a bit vague, with people repeating the phrases ‘not admin’ and ‘more value’. So I have had a think about what it is that a PMO should be doing and acting in order to provide ‘more value’.

The best analogy I could come up with for a PMO as to compare the work of a PMO to that of a valet. I was reminded of the stories by P.G. Wodehouse of Jeeves and Wooster and of all of the scrapes that Bertie Wooster gets into, only to be rescued by Jeeves. I see a great deal of similarity in the dealings of a PMO and their PM’s.

After all the hero of the story should be Wooster, with all of the goings on, and you only actually hear of Jeeeves’ involvement when it all gets a little bit too hairy. So I see the role of the PMO, we allow the PM to have all of the fun, dealing with the stakeholders, going to all of the meetings, gaining the prize of the deliverables done on time. Only if there are hurdles to be overcome, tricky stakeholders to be dealt with, deadlines to be achieved does the PMO come into view and quietly and efficiently save the day. They ask not for any extra award or applause, but are grateful of a job well done. Therefore in the mind of the PM the PMO is worth their weight in gold, and wouldn’t be shared with anyone else.

Don’t you think it is about time that the PMO’s become a bit more like the Jeeves of the world? Quiet, unassuming, problem solving, competent and always around when a problem arises, with the solution readily available.