Is it time to say goodbye to the PMO and say hello to the VMO?

Is it time to say goodbye to the PMO and say hello to the VMO?

Why have a PMO? 

The Project Management Office, or PMO as it’s usually called, is commonly found in organisations where project management is the primary means by which business change is delivered.   

It really only takes one or two major project failures for executives to realise why having PMO is so important. It can be very career limiting when a major project goes off the railsThe PMO typically reduces project management risk by standardising and formalising how projects are delivered, therefore avoiding calamities in the future. Well at least that’s the theory. 

But a PMO is not always a great idea 

When an organisation needs to integrate an acquired business through an M&A deal of some kind, the overall coordination can fall to the inhouse PMO function.

While the inhouse PMO might sound like the natural choice, in reality it’s not always a great idea. A few reasons why: 

  1. An inhouse PMO doesn’t usually have the bandwidth to take on what could be a considerably larger exercise.
  2. It’s authority and span of control is usually limited to the tactical projects required to keep the lights on.   
  3. It’s unlikely to have the prerequisite skills, capabilities and overall commercial nous to take on something that’s so strategically important. 
  4. It implicitly assumes (incorrectly) that a business integration is ‘just another project management exercise’ 

Setting up an IMO is a better alternative 

Commonly known as the Integration Management Office (IMO), its job is to meet the unique demands an M&A integration places on an organisation. 

An IMO acts as the ringmaster for all integration activities. It can also have it’s own unique cost center to capture integration related costs. 

The IMO can be a truly powerful and positive force, for it has the ability to get stakeholders, executives and teams all working to a regular and rhythmic drumbeat. Moreover, by tracking and reporting on progress, everyone knows where they’re at and what’s left to do. 

But is it..? 

However, a good many organisations are increasingly looking at M&A as a way of transforming what they currently do. They want to define their own future, not hide from it. Also, it’s not just short term savings they’re after, but also those revenue synergies that hold a special promise for more meaningful and sustained business growth. This could be around an improved customer engagement, new products or capabilities they currently don’t have.  

 Say hello to the VMO.. 

Compared to cost synergies, revenue synergy execution is a much more demanding exercise. This is where a Value Management Office (VMO) comes in. While it might sound like some kind of snappy name change created by the marketing department, a VMO is in fact a very different kind of construct. Let me explain the differences. 

 The VMO is a business function  

By making the notion of value the focus and reason for being, the VMO becomes a business function – not just a project management function, with a unique and highly worthy centre of excellence. This gives the VMO a special kind of virtue that silences those naysayers who think that it might be some kind of bureaucratic overhead.  

 The VMO is about commercial results 

Secondly, the VMO oversees both the planning and executing of projects, and the commercial results they produce. This ensures a balance between ‘doing things right’ and ‘doing the right thing’. After all, no one wants to say to a pilot: ‘great landingwrong airport!’  

 The VMO has a secret sauce  

Thirdly, organisations are somewhat haphazard when trying to identify, evaluate and prioritise revenue creating opportunities. They’ll certainly give it a go, but they often lack the prerequisite skills, tools and techniques to do it well – it’s simply not their forte.  

This is where a VMO comes to the rescue with its secret sauce.  Through deep know-howpersonal coaching and facilitated workshops, a VMO can help individuals and teams gain the skills and expertise on how value can be successfully engineered.  

Moreover, a VMO can help shed light and give analytical clarity to the significant pools of opportunity that commonly get overlooked. 

The VMO centres the mind on value

Finally, the tracking, measuring and scorecard reporting of value, has a way of changing behaviours and the things management talk about. Whether it’s tweaking a product feature, changing the marketing or modifying the profit model, the conversation should always be around the synergies and various value levers that deliver upon the engine of growth. With a value tracking scorecard in place, regular conversations and management routines begin to change. 

 In summary…

A VMO is about opportunity – identifying it, evaluating it, and through dogged persistence, implementing it. It’s fundamentally an innovative exercise as it forces organisations to think, manage and act differently. Opportunity can indeed become reality – once the management of value becomes part of the daily rhythm of work.   

So what do you think… should we say hello to the VMO?