Leading an Enterprise PMO Deployment That Aligns with Strategic Vision

  • Strategy Goals, Objectives, Deliverables, Expectations
  • PMO Leader Role in Strategy Development
  • Right Sized PMO Deployment Based on Strategy
  • Creating Value in PMO Deployment
  • Leading an Enterprise-Level PMO that Aligns to the Strategic Vision is the Key to Deploying an Effective Program Management Infrastructure.

    Identifying and Developing Project Management Methodology, Best Practices and Standards for the PMO Requires the Proper Level of Direction Based on the Strategic Vision of the Organization. Having a Consistent and Disciplined PMO Infrastructure Aligned to Strategic Objectives at the Enterprise Level Can Make the Difference Between Success and Failure of an Organization if it is Deployed Correctly and Appropriately. PMO Leaders Must Understand the Overall Business Goals and Breakthrough Objectives so that the PMO Adds Value with a “Right-Sized” Solution to Successfully DELIVER RESULTS. PMO Leaders Collaborate with Other Executives and Leaders to Align the Enterprise-Level PMO with the Strategic Priorities and Objectives of the Organization Using Industry Best Practices for Strategy Development. Enterprise-Level PMO Deployment Best Practices can be Applied at the Portfolio, Program, Individual Project Level.

    Alignment to Strategy

    PMO deployment aligned to goals and objectives.

    Alignment to Strategy

    PMO is a Means to an End – Deliverables are Not the PMO Artifacts. The Purpose of the PMO is to “Enable” the Success of the Organization. Knowing and Aligning to the Strategic Vision Will Help demonstrate the “value” of the PMO, help the PMO team understand what success looks like and ensure that the PMO DELIVERS RESULTS tied to the goals and objectives of the organization

    The PMO Leader Must Know the Business and a Significant Part is Knowing and Understanding the Strategic Vision of the Organization

    The PMO Must Drive Results and Improved Performance

    Strategy According to PMBOK

    Projects and Strategic Planning
    • Projects are often utilized as a means of achieving an organization’s

    strategic plan

    • Organizations manage portfolios based on their strategic plan

    • Those components contributing the least to the portfolio’s strategic objectives may be excluded

    • A PMO may be delegated the authority
    Develop Project Charter

    The key benefits of this process are that it provides a direct link between the project and the strategic objectives of the organization…

    Developing the Strategic Plan

    PMO Leaders role in the organization’s strategics vision.

    •The PMO leader(s) Should be Part of the Overall Executive or Leadership Team •One of the Primary Roles of the Executive Leadership Team in Any Organization is to Develop the Strategy Including the High-Level Goals, Objectives and Targets •In Larger Organizations, There May be Several Layers of the Strategy Development •The PMO Leader Should be High in This Hierarchy and May Be on Numerous 2nd Tier Organization Strategy Development Teams •PMO Leader is a Critical Voice in the Organization’s Strategy Development •Typically, the PMO Leader Has Extensive Overall Business Experience and Insight Into What it takes in Achieving the High-Level Goals and Objectives

    •One of the Best Practices From Lean Manufacturing that can be Applied in Strategy Development is the X-Matrix •A Management Process that Aligns with an Organization’s Functions and Activities with its Strategic Objectives •A Specific Plan (Typically Annually) is Developed with Precise Goals, Actions, Timelines, Responsibilities and Measures. Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. – 2014 •The Process of Creating the X-matrix can be used to Develop the Strategy Itself •Most Leaders Have a Good Idea of What the Breakthrough Goals Ought to be, but the Process of Filling in the Other Sections of the Tool can be Very Revealing •To be Effective, the Completion of the X-matrix Requires the Involvement of Multiple Stakeholders, Giving Different Perspectives and the Opportunity to Help Determine How the Team will Navigate Toward True North


    •Finding the Right Balance in Prioritization Based on the Strategy •Relationship Between Constraints •Triple Constraint – Pick Two •Organization Must Decide Which Constraints Have the Most and Least Flexibility

    Breakthrough Objective:  •Get To Market Faster Than the Competition •Schedule or “Time” is the Priority •May be Some Flexibility on Content or Budget •PMO Cannot Add Time to the Project with Unnecessary Process •If Schedule is at Risk for Slipping •PM May Need to Work with Leadership to Add More Funding to the Budget •PM May Work With the Technical Leaders to Evaluate any Features or Content that Could be Removed from Scope to Remove Tasks From the Schedule

    •Breakthrough Objective:  •Lowest Price Compared to Competition •Budget or “Cost” is the Priority •May be Some Flexibility on Content or Schedule •PMO Cannot Add Cost to the Project with Additional Process •Time is Money •If at Risk for Going Over Budget •PM May Need to Work with Leadership to Add More Time to Reduce Overtime Pay, Expedite Fees, etc. •PM May Work with the Technical Leader to Evaluate Any Features or Content that Could be Removed from Scope to Reduce the cost

    Breakthrough Objective: 

    Offer Highest Quality with Most Features and Capability

    Content or “Scope” is the Priority

    May be Some Flexibility on Schedule or Budget

    PMO May Have a Less Critical Role in this Environment

    Schedule Slips May be Acceptable to Get “More”

    Going over Budget May be Acceptable to get “More”

    PM May be Reporting to Leadership with Limited Effort to Make Corrections

    Good PM Discipline is Still Important with Appropriate Tailoring

    Right-Sized PMO

    •Identifying and developing project management methodology, best practices and standards for the PMO requires the appropriate level of direction based on the specific strategy of the organization •Too much oversight or rigor can constrain progress and add non-valuable time and overhead to the effort •Conversely, not enough discipline can cause a lack of control and may defeat the purpose of having the PMO

    •Program/Project Managers and the PMO Leadership can focus too much on the PMO “deliverables” •They see the project management process and artifacts as the deliverables. •More Time on the PMO requirements than on actual product development or the “work” that the PMO is managing. •This can be a value-add proposition •Execution “work” was reduced and more efficient as a result of the project management discipline

    •Developing The Enterprise-Level PMO •Appropriate Level •Based on Strategy

    Project Management Methodology

    Best Practices

    Standards, Processes and Procedures

    Key Performance Indicators

    Risk Management

    There Must be a Solid ROI for Having a PMO •The PMO and Discipline That it Adds Can (and Should) Be a Critical Part of The Business Strategy •Consistency •Predictability •Ability to Realistically Assess Probability of Success in Future Projects or Bids •If there is Skepticism, Build Consensus by Addressing Pain Points that are Preventing Achievement of Strategic Goals

    Investment of Time, Funding and Resources to the PMO

    Leadership and the Organization will expect to see a return for that investment

    Leading an Enterprise-Level PMO Deployment that Aligns with Strategic Vision is the Key to Having a Successful and Effective Program Management Infrastructure •PMO Leader has a Significant Role in Strategy Development •X-Matrix Tool Can be Used in Developing Strategy, or “Vision” for the Organization •Application of the Triple Constraint in PMO Deployment Aligned to the Strategic Breakthrough Objectives •Right-Sized PMO Deployment Based on Strategy – Too Much vs. Not Enough •PMO Deployment Must Demonstrate Value and Return On Investment (ROI)

    References and Acknowledgements

    Lean Lexicon 5th Edition

      Publisher:  Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. – 2014

      ISBN:  0-9667843-6-7

    PMBOK GUIDE – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Sixth Edition

      Published By: Project Management Institute, Inc. – 2017

      ISBN: 978-1-62825-199-9

    Edward Leydon is an International PMO and Strategy Leader with 20 years of Engineering and Program Management Experience. He has led Successful Large-Scale Aerospace Development and Strategic Business Initiative Programs with annual budgets of over $120M. Edward has built Up Multiple PMO Organizations and Frameworks from the Ground Up Using his experience and established Best Practices. He has trained PMO Leaders and Program Management Teams in China, Czech Republic, India, Puerto Rico, UAE, UK and USA.

    Edward’s employment history includes Staff Systems Engineer/Engineering Program Manager at Lockheed Martin from 2005-2012, PMO Director at Honeywell Aerospace from 2012-2019 and currently Director of PMO and Strategy at Beacon Red in Abu Dhabi, UAE where he has been located since 2020.

    Portfolio-Program-Project (P3) Management Office (PMO)


    The idea of having a PMO for an organization or business objective can have different meanings or perceptions, but the basic concept remains the same. Regardless of the industry, type of effort, size, budget or duration, the basic PMO concept is to have a disciplined approach to the life-cycle of a given effort. The PMO is really the guiding discipline or infrastructure and not necessarily a physical “office” at all. The Office is really the “Official” or “Officiating” entity responsible for the definition and enforcement of the management discipline.

    Project Management Institute (PMI) Definition Project Management Office (PMO)

    An organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project (PMBOK Guide).

    Primary functions may include:

    • Managing shared resources across all projects administered by the PMO. In this case, the PMO may be the staffing management that assigns PMs to individual Programs and Projects based on the requirements, skill level and workload balance of the PM workforce. If there is a larger Portfolio PMO, the Leaders or Leadership Team are typically a longer term or permanent part of the organization and are not “assigned” by the PMO itself.
    • Identifying and developing project management methodology, best practices and standards. This may be the most critical function of the overall PMO. This is where the discipline and rigor are defined and enforced. The PMO will need to find the right level of tailoring based on the specifics of the effort. Too much oversight or rigor can constrain progress as well add non-value add time and overhead to the effort. Conversely, not enough discipline can cause a lack of control and may defeat the purpose of having the PMO.
    • Coaching, mentoring, training and oversight. The PMO will typically be regarded as Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the field of P3 Management. This level of skill, background and expertise will need to be shared as the PMO leaders in an organization.
    • Monitoring compliance with project management standards, policies, procedures and templates via project audits. The PMO defines the guidelines that will be followed and will be responsible for ensuring adherence to, or approved deviations from those guidelines.
    • Developing and managing project policies, procedures, templates and other shared documentation (organizational process assets). The PMO will ensure consistency, order and organization by having common documentation between various efforts. This simplifies the process of understanding the project and is helpful when resources are working more than a single program or project and do not have to adapt to unique standards for each effort.
    • Coordinating communication across projects. Communication is always key to the success or failure of any effort and the PMO plays a critical role in this communication. Many times, there are different groups working specific activities and the PMO will need to manage the cross-functional communication. The individual may not understand the big picture or impact to the overall objective by their specific effort. The PMO has the total overall responsibility of ensuring that the various “parts” are all working together in alignment and much of that can be accomplished by effective communication.

    As mentioned, the PMO is effective regardless of the size of the effort. Additionally, the PMO may refer to different “levels” that need the management discipline. Although the PMO will refer to all levels if applicable to the effort, depending on the size of the organization, entity or project, not all levels need to be included.

    Portfolio Management

    The portfolio is the highest level in the P3 Hierarchy. The portfolio that is managed is usually part of the overall organizational structure or a major business strategy. The portfolio in this context refers to a group of programs (and projects) that meet a strategic business objective. The programs may or may not be interdependently related but fit in some sort of infrastructure or organization. A specific organization may have different types of products, enterprises, commodities, business units, etc. that have a common high-level business objective, but will be managed in separate programs. The responsibility of the Portfolio is typically a senior or executive leader in the organization such as Vice President, Sr. Director or Director.

    Program Management

    The portfolio is the middle level in the P3 Hierarchy. Many business strategies or objectives will start at the Program level and will not roll up under a specific Portfolio. The program is defined as a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually (PMBOK). The program may have schedule milestones, resource requirements and budget that are rolled up from the lower level project plans. The responsibility of the Program is typically a leader in the organization such as Sr. Director, Director, Sr. Program Manager or Program Manager.

    Project Management

    The individual projects are the lowest level in the P3 Hierarchy. Smaller efforts (limited scope, short duration, smaller budget or resources required) may only have a Project and will not roll up under a specific Portfolio or Program. The projects will have detailed plans that may include scheduled tasks and milestones, resources, budget and specific deliverables (scope). This is the plan that will typically be used to track the day-by-day performance of the execution team. The responsibility of the Project is typically an individual contributor in the organization such as Sr. Project Manager, Project Manager or Project Engineer.

    Figure 1. Portfolio -Program-Project Hierarchy

    PMO Purpose

    The PMO is an entity that defines and ensures adherence to the common centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The PMO is the overall guiding infrastructure that will provide the discipline and rigor needed for successful execution to meet the organizational objectives.

    There are (4) main aspects of the PMO’s purpose:

    • Plan – Know where you are going
    • Monitor – How are you performing compared to the Plan
    • Control – Track and make corrections when there is a Plan vs. Actual variance
    • Results – Deliver the goods to meet the objectives

    Figure 2. Plan, Monitor, Control, Results

    The overall purpose of the PMO is to ensure that the business objectives are met in the most effective and efficient manner possible. The PMO discipline provides a predictability and repeatable process to meet the critical needs, goals and objectives.

    PMO Phases

    There will be a time-phased progression with any P3 effort and the PMO discipline typically provides some type of phase framework to ensure that necessary steps are completed in order. Many times, these phases will need to be reviewed, audited or approved before moving to the next phase. Although there will be many variations on the specific phases, typically the logical order will follow something similar to the following:

        • Phase 1 Strategy
        • Phase 2 Kickoff
        • Phase 3 Pre-Work
        • Phase 4 Execution
        • Phase 5 Implementation
        • Phase 6 Completion

    Figure 3. PMO Phases

    The PMBOK “textbook” model of this is Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling and Closing. Large development programs following a “waterfall” development model will typically have phase reviews such a Requirements Review, Preliminary Design Review (PDR), Critical Design Review (CRD), Test Readiness Review (TRR) and Production Readiness Review (PRR). Most major large companies and corporations have their own “branded” version of this phased concept. These milestones or “phase gate reviews” will need to be part of the Project Plans as defined by the PMO. The PMO will also ensure that the proper stakeholder governance is defined and enforced as part of this process.

    Throughout these phases, there will be defined process steps and/or artifacts that will be required. Some of the major items included that are part of a typical PMO discipline include:

        • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and WBS Dictionary
        • Functional Organization Breakdown
        • Performance Measurement Baseline
        • Schedule Baseline
        • Cost Baseline
        • Change Management
        • Risk and Opportunity Management
        • Analysis and Reporting


    The critical functions of the PMO are designed to ensure that there is a plan for success in meeting a strategic business need. There are several layers in the P3 model of Portfolio-Program-Project model with each having a specific purpose. The main purpose of the PMO is to have an End-To-End (E2E) structure to Plan, Monitor, Control and ultimately get Results. By following the appropriate order of phases and establishing clear entrance and exit criteria, efforts can move forward without re-work or the concern that something was missed in the process that will have significantly negative impact later on.

    The discipline of the PMO reduces opportunities for failure and increases the chance of success. By having a clear, well-defined path to follow with the important processes and procedures, business leaders will have an accurate forecast and predictability with critical objectives, initiatives and efforts. Having leaders that specialize in PMO best practices has tremendous benefits and the time and effort put into establishing the PMO up front will provide unforeseen benefits that will make the investment worthwhile from a cost-benefit perspective.

    Portfolio-Program-Project (P3) Management Plan

    Portfolio-Program-Project (P3) Management Plan: A formal, approved document that defines how the project is executed, monitored and controlled. It may be a summary or detailed and may be composed of one or more subsidiary management plans and other planning documents. (PMBOK Guide 4th Edition)

    Project Baselines [Performance Measurement Baseline]:

    • Schedule Baseline
    • Cost (Financial) Baseline
    • Scope Baseline

    Subsidiary Plans:

    • Scope Management Plan
    • Requirements Management Plan
    • Schedule Management Plan
    • Cost (Financial) Management Plan
    • Quality Management Plan
    • Process Improvement Plan
    • Human Resource Plan
    • Communications Management Plan
    • Risk Management Plan
    • Procurement Management Plan