The PMO Value Proposition
February 16th, 2021 – Guy Thorpe – (6 min read)
So what’s the PMO’s Value Prop? That’s the question a CEO of a major Healthcare organisation once asked me when I was in the initial stages of helping revitalise their existing PMO. It is an incredibly astute question as it cuts to the heart of what value/ benefit she could expect to get from engaging with their PMO. Fortunately, I had been working with their group of talented PMO people on identifying their value-adds and had something to hand, once she had heard me out her eyes lit up and she replied “tell me more”.
Unfortunately, though far too many PMO’s that I encounter struggling to get buy-in or organisational cut-through are unable to clearly articulate their own Value Proposition. They can certainly tell you the things they do, tools they support, or services they provide but are unable to clearly articulate the organisational value derived from their own PMO service delivery. This is what a “PMO Value Proposition” all is about.
In its most basic form, a Value Proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s a summary of how your products or services benefit your customers. It needs to be user-centric, which means focusing on what users need as opposed to what you offer. For a PMO this represents the intersection of the direct business needs with the PMO’s service offering;
Developing a PMO’s Value Proposition isn’t easy and takes, time, energy and focus to boil it all down to a simple eloquent statement. There is a quote I love from Steve Jobs that goes something like this;
“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains”
A value proposition usually consists of a block of text (a headline, sub-headline, and one paragraph of text) that can be read and understood in about 5 seconds. Here are a couple of excellent examples of company Value Propositions:
“Lets you work more collaboratively and get more done” (Trello’s boards, lists and cards enable you to organise and prioritise your projects in a fun flexible and rewarding way).
Or how about Slack, everything that the company does hinges on their Value Proposition:
“Slack saves time by tearing down communication and systems silos” Their product aspires to take the pain out of working together online — and maybe even make it fun.
Crafting a great PMO Value Proposition
There are a huge variety of templates and canvas that can be used to help you define your own PMO’s Value Proposition but Steve Blank, a former Google employee who runs the Lean Startup Circle offers a straightforward formula for developing a Value Proposition:
We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z).
An alternative approach to developing a Value Proposition is developing a clear statement that offers three things:
- Relevancy. Explain how your PMO’s services solve business problems or improves their situation.
- Quantified value. Deliver specific benefits
- Audience: Tell the ideal stakeholder why they should want to work with you
Test your Value Proposition rigorously
Test your PMO’s Value Proposition by delivering it to a range of different people and then ask them to replay it back to you, outlining what they think the value your PMO delivers. Test it with Project Manager, Sponsors, delivery teams and investment committees. Don’t be afraid to modify and refine it repeatedly.
Here are a couple of PMO Examples:
“Tell it how it is” – The PMOs is the heart, not the head
“Helping translate our strategy into execution, through projects and programmes”
“Enabling outstanding project delivery”
“Improve business results and deliver projects better, faster, and cheaper by implementing best practice project management processes consistently across your organization”.
“We help enable project teams to deliver our strategy – capability, tools, support”