PMO Becomes Strategically Involved
In my last post, PMO Driving Servant Leadership I discussed how in this age of digital and Agile transformation, we need to evolve the Program Management Office (PMO) into a Servant Leadership model, which in turn raises the PMO in the organization’s value chain.
As I discussed in the earlier post the development team members are moving up the value chain by working directly with the product owner, defining user stories. The PMO team needs to move up the value chain by facilitating creation and validation of portfolio/program roadmaps for the business.
One great way to do this is through the Business Model Canvas illustrated below.
Image Credits: businessmodelgeneration.com
Figure 1: Business Model Canvas illustrating a Google market segment.
The example above has a relaxed representation of one segment of Google’s business model.
The Business Model Canvas has nine areas of focus that represents a business model on one page. Each of the nine areas should be populated with educated assumptions on how each contributes to the overall business model. Each of the items placed on the canvas is really nothing more than a guess or hypothesis; it is the job of the PMO to create and measure validation or failure of each guess/hypothesis. Here’s the great news; each outcome is good! Huh?
Well, if an assumption is validated that is obviously good, and now it is time to move on to another area of the canvas. However, if the guess is not validated that is also good because we now have the ability to create another guess/hypothesis that can be tested. The benefit we derive from this is we never build products or services that the market doesn’t desire.
The initial canvas will never look like the canvas we end up executing against. This is an inexpensive way to validate our assumptions before we spend money building and delivering products or services the market does not want.
I can see the question in everyone’s mind, how does the PMO fit into these activities? Answer – it’s a perfect fit! See below.
- PMO is great at analytics and measuring
- Move away from measuring such things as utilization rates
- Start to measure hypothesis testing from the business model canvas
- PMO is great at driving delivery and results at the project level
- Move away from project/program execution
- Start to facilitate product roadmap validation
The trend is moving everyone in an organization toward the customer and the customers needs. The product development teams are doing that via Agile working more closely with product management and customers. Similarly, the PMO is moving away from blinded execution toward the customers via Customer Discovery that begets Product Discovery by validation of the product roadmap through the Business Model Canvas.
Image Credits: Tim Bertheau
 Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, The Startup Owners Manual The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company, K&H Ranch Press, Pescadero, California, 2012.
– Tim Bertheau