How to transition from a PMO to an EPMO

by Moira Alexander
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According to Gartner, senior executives in most of the largest companies in America will come to rely heavily on EPMOs to implement company-wide strategies and remain innovative. Today and tomorrow’s PMOs need to prepare for the transition to an EPMO model in order to keep pace with the increasing competition. Let’s start with the differences between an EPMO vs PMO.




What is a PMO?

A PMO is an IT department responsible for the execution of projects, programs, and portfolios.

What is an EPMO

An EPMO project manager, program manager, and  project portfolio manager is more focused on overall strategy and ensuring that an organization’s portfolio management’s execution aligns with and is integrated with strategic portfolio management elements.

Transitioning to an EPMO

To ensure that strategic objectives are met throughout project life cycles, businesses and PMOs will need to focus much more carefully on the following steps.

Planning and initiation

Businesses need to consider setting up an EPMO for the purpose of ensuring that all business units are undertaking initiatives that tie to overall strategic goals. Moreover, EPMO participation is critical in company-wide planning sessions in order to transform the traditional PMOs into high-performing teams that deliver significant value. This will also help to establish a shared vision.

Monitoring activities, resources, and performance

Throughout project implementations, it will become critical for EPMO leaders and senior executives to work closely together to maintain alignment between projects and overall business goals. In working together, part of the dialogue should include establishing key performance indicators to communicate and measure what matters to the company.


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Going forward, it will be equally important at the end of each project for PMOs and senior executives to quantify the success rates of projects in relation to company-wide objectives and determine the changes that may be required for future projects to keep the business moving in the right direction. Gaining an understanding of the lessons learned is part of the formula for success.

Senior executives will also need to view their EPMO as a strategic partner reporting directly to the executive team and not solely as a project-based business unit. When the PMO is allowed full access to the executive team and vice versa, this can help ensure that alignment is achieved at all levels of the business.

As it becomes more difficult for businesses to compete, shareholders will continue to expect more from all areas of business, and this means that EPMOs will need to become fully immersed in the direction of the business. Going forward, they will also need to modify contributions to become exceptionally efficient and effective, and they can expect increasing accountability. C-suites will have to prepare EPMOs for the transformation into high-performance teams ready to keep up with changing economic conditions and will have to work closely with them to develop activities that support strategy and raise the success rate of company-wide projects.

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