Digital PMO


    An effective PMO, or Project Management Office, is at the heart of any project, acting as a key enabler in its success. 

    It facilitates communication to ensure all are working towards the same strategic goals. To make this feasible, digital is at the core of today’s successful PMO.

What is a digital PMO?

A digital PMO is a project management office (PMO) that, thanks to new digital tools and technology enhancements, digitizes and presents information to stakeholders. It’s based on real-time data that can be gathered at the touch of a button.
Because it’s all online, a digital PMO dashboard can be accessed on any device. This has been a godsend with the onset of work from home.
It is a classic PMO that masters digital project management tools bringing value and enhanced customer experience to its teams. We’re not talking about just Excel here – Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, and other platforms are in the mix as in the image below.

How does a Digital PMO add value to your organization?

The digital project management office is about data processing and analysis coupled with automation. A classic PMO spends around 45% of their time collecting, checking, and compiling data. A digital PMO shifts that effort to defining data mining strategies. Reducing what used to take 45% of your time down to 15% allows you to spend more time on analysis.

Digital is at the core of today’s successful PMO.

By building automated dashboards, project managers can keep their stakeholders and teams in the loop while refocusing their efforts on delivering more value instead of report creation. Think of a classic PMO combined with data analysts and data scientists. That’s a good mental model of the digital PMO.

“Thanks to the continued proliferation of digital tools, it’s possible to increase the daily performance of our teams by limiting the time needed to collect, structure, and visualize key data”

Julien Laurent • Digital PMO Leader with MI-GSO

Why do I need a digital PMO?


You may be asking yourself why you need a digital PMO.  While the digital age has brought us data, it has also brought us too much data.  In many organizations, the time has passed to start analyzing and exploiting this data.  The classic PMO needs to evolve.

“with an enormous amount of data that we’re going to have to correlate. We’re not able to do that off the top of our heads. We need a platform, software, something that will allow us to correlate all this data and add value.

 In a 2015 PMI article, they state that “a key challenge is that the integration of new and legacy platforms requires careful thought and planning.” This requires more than just time to set things up. You need a skill set in digital technologies that many classic PMO resources do not have.

It requires a digital-first mindset. You need to be focused on integrating various data points to influence decision-making and improve project performance.

A digital-first mindset uses those gains in time savings from automation and connectivity to focus on analytics. Here are some questions you should be asking:

What decisions can I make with this data?

How can we reduce the likelihood of occurrence? 

How can we reduce the severity? 

What guardrails can we implement to achieve our objectives on time?

How can we ensure that we’re meeting the expectations of our customers and stakeholders?


What do we need to evolve into a digital PMO?

The business environment is the most important. It is essential that the company is open to digitization and that key departments, IT for example, are ready to support the PMO in its digital transformation.  Without those two things, it will be impossible to find the resources necessary for your PMO to evolve.

Digital maturity is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t become a digital PMO overnight. It requires structure as you would any other PMO improvement program.  

To define your own PMO digital transformation roadmap, we recommend that you:

  Identify where the PMO currently sits with a digital maturity assessment.

  Identify where the PMO needs to be. Think People, Process, Tools, Data, Customer, Culture, etc.

  Conduct a workshop with the team to perform a gap analysis.

  Agree on a plan of action.

  Make sure to structure the roadmap for continuous improvement increments as in an Agile PMO.

What are the common challenges in transforming to a digital PMO?

The most common blocking points are that the harmonization of tools and data may not be done yet. The company must be at a level of maturity between its production and its tools to process its data optimally. Without data, there is no PMO.

Centralized tools and enhanced communication between departments is vital for cross-program dashboards to be relevant. Data compliance can be a sticking point if departments do not use the data in the same way. Garbage data in, garbage data out.

Finally, you might think that high-sensitivity data is a limit, but the digital tools on the market today all have the same rigor regarding  data security  . Data privacy should not be considered a deterrent in digitizing your PMO.

3 Tips to Evolve to a Digital PMO

If you haven’t kicked off your journey to a more Digital PMO yet, we encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience. To support you on your journey, we offer you three tips, courtesy of a conversation with Rich Weller, PM artificial intelligence enthusiast:

Be Aware

Research the latest technology on the market and how you can capitalize on its unique benefits within your technology landscape.

Focus Forward

Basically, you need to anticipate what’s coming and how can you continually incorporate or integrate it in to what you have already in place without overwhelming your current landscape.

Think Digital

Use every opportunity to capture your data electronically, in a consistent format, and to store it so that it can be leveraged for making decisions. Then, look at how you can automate your processes to take manual data entry or manipulation out of the your daily work.


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