One of the most hotly anticipated live webinar series of the year has just closed, with great feedback from participants and viewers alike. “Scalability: A Clear Path Forward for Modern PMOs” took place over three separate sessions, featuring a stellar line-up of speakers including:

  • Carolyn Lum, Industry Principal for PMO at Wrike, is a strategic business transformation leader who has led large-scale projects, programs, and portfolios across industries. She was previously the Director of Supply Chain Continuous Improvement at Walmart Canada where she built their PMO.
  • Michael McCuish, Senior Solutions Consultant at Wrike, has worked with a wide range of PMOs through SaaS solutions. Formerly at FactSet, Michael joined Wrike in 2022 and is now integral to our PMO vertical, customizing Wrike solutions to fit each client’s needs.
  • Michael Kreisbuch, who channels his award-winning experience to train teams and manage work in corporate communications. He’s proud to serve as Wrike Product Owner and as a Senior Project Manager for Freddie Mac.
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Here is a full recap of the live event, with key takeaways from this three-part series:

1. Surviving and Thriving in the ‘New’ Workforce

The first in the three-part series of webinars kicked off with a look at the macroeconomic reality we all find ourselves in today. With nearly 120,000 tech startup layoffs in Q1 of 2023, our world is one with increased pressure to do more with less. 

This is leading to major industry shifts including an unprecedented pace of work, increasing employee burnout, falling morale, and the phenomenon of quiet quitting.  

“Current employees exist in limbo-like turmoil,” says Julia Fukunaga of Wired. “[They’re] struggling to meet rising expectations and fill the gaps of a downsized workforce, all while coping with industry-wide low morale.” 

One key problem is that the output of work is no longer delivering value to the business. This is due to:

  • A cascading set of challenges across people, workflows, and apps 
  • Fragmented priorities, processes, goals, and apps that don’t work together
  • Splintered, siloed work that is wasteful, with minimum impact 

In this so-called “new normal,” achieving operational efficiency is a priority often tasked to PMOs. So how are PMOs to regain control of their work, align strategy to execution, and roll up their projects, programs, and portfolios to support their executive leadership’s vision?

Redefining the PMO

To understand how the most successful organizations are reimagining PMO, the Project Management Institute (PMI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) collaborated on a research initiative to explore how this function is evolving into one that focuses on value delivery. This resulted in the emergence of the term “xMO” to indicate that while advanced PMOs still support the execution of projects, their objective is value delivery and, as a result, they are increasingly being referred to by names other than PMO.

“The xMO mindset helps shift the focus to enabling value delivery, and it has an almost obsessive focus on how it supports the organization, empowering teams and decision makers to deliver value-based outcomes for customers,” according to PMI.

Empowering the PMO

When planning, revisit your processes, technologies, and operations to ensure that you’re setting your teams up for success regardless of their location, enabling them to work in the way that’s best for them. 

You can do this by asking yourself questions like: 

  • What purpose do all of my team’s processes serve? 
  • Can any process be streamlined, optimized, or eliminated? 
  • What tool(s) are my teams using the most and why? 
  • Is the technology they’re using helping or hindering them? 

Shifting the PMO mindset

In these tumultuous times, it’s important to remember that while change is never easy, you’re never alone. PMOs all over the world are experiencing a major shift in mindset, which is powering significant change in the industry. 

They’re having to find new ways to:

  • Align strategy with execution
  • Achieve end-to-end visibility across portfolios
  • Maximize ROI through operational efficiency and governance

This all means that success looks different for PMOs now, but certainly not impossible — with the right tools.

Watch the on-demand webinar session here.

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2. Embracing Change Through Flexibility and Scalability

The second part of the series examined how PMOs can embrace this change, meeting its challenges and capitalizing on its opportunities. 

Wrike recently carried out groundbreaking research into the hidden cost of work complexities, which we call the Dark Matter of Work. The respondents all confirmed that digital transformation is well underway:

  • 91% said that digital transformation efforts massively accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 77% found that existing communication and collaboration tools were insufficient for new remote and hybrid working at scale
  • 77% believe that their business wouldn’t have survived without the digital transformation efforts put in place
  • 70% of knowledge workers say these rapid changes were “necessary but very stressful”

The cost of work complexities

While it’s clear that digital transformation drives operational efficiency focus, it’s not without its challenges. Tracking, sharing, and organizing work has become even more difficult as our tech stacks grew ever taller. All of this costs money — lots of it. For example:

  • $52 million annually in wasted time caused by unproductive meetings, duplicated efforts, information seeking, and status check-ins
  • $8.2 million in delayed or canceled projects
  • $427,000 in employee churn

A push for operational efficiency

This isn’t going unnoticed among global leaders, including Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. His call for a “Year of Efficiency” seems to be paying off, at least from a revenue point of view: Meta saw a profit of $5.7 billion for the first quarter of this year, which surpassed expectations for the period. 

Zuckerberg, among others in his position, are striving to increase operational efficiency by flattening the organization and removing any and all latency barriers, investing in tools that drive efficiency, and prioritizing ruthlessly using surgically concise resource planning

The all-in-one solution

While this all sounds like a heavy ask, the good news is that the solution is already within reach. Wrike can help PMOs deliver all this and more — from one versatile and easy-to-use platform. Its suite of powerful features help teams achieve their goals, redefine their path towards scalability, and work as one team via:

During the webinar, our speakers asked the attendees what Wrike feature they can’t live without. More than half of the respondents confirmed that resource planning tools were top of their list. Almost a quarter valued executive-level reporting highly, while the rest were distributed somewhat evenly across budget tracking, governance, and change management features.

Watch the on-demand webinar session here.

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3. Doing More With Less — Bringing It All Together

As outlined earlier, PMOs everywhere are now tasked with doing much more with far less. The final installment in this series looked at how we can combine all the lessons learned and convert them into real tools for success.

With a rapid pace of change, ongoing reduction or reallocation of headcount, and increased pressure from leadership, how can teams successfully manage their work, never mind the additional work of their former colleagues?

The webinar’s speakers outlined their top steps to success in this challenging environment, based on the Wrike blog, “Do More With Less: How to Cope With the Hidden Cost of Layoffs.”

  1. Get a clear understanding of capacity
  2. Determine top priorities
  3. Analyze past and current progress
  4. Push back when you don’t have capacity
  5. Make a plan to revisit paused projects 

How real PMOs bring it all together

Michael Kreisbuch, Senior Project Manager at Freddie Mac, found that Wrike was the PMO-focused tool his team needed to manage work efficiently. “The more we looked at Wrike, the more we realized we loved Wrike’s features,” he recalls. “It has incredible power to show transparency across the project, increase communication, and keep much more control overall. It was also fast to set up a project and get people working.”

Adopting Wrike for PMO at Freddie Mac has reduced the number of applications needed to manage projects, saving hours of time visualizing and tracking work, and contributing to increased transparency and seamless communication. 

“The efficiencies that grew from that adoption, the continuous improvement, and the toolsets within the platform are all why we’re able to take on the amount of work that we do,” Michael says.

Resilience and elasticity

As outlined earlier, the role of the PMO has evolved significantly in recent times. Amidst all the change afoot, the ability to remain resilient and elastic has proved key to PMO success. The speakers attributed this to: 

  1. The ability to bend when necessary, but also spring back into shape comfortably
  2. Open communication and understanding up and down the chain about bandwidth, timelines, resources, etc. 

Watch the on-demand webinar session here

This webinar series provided a number of key learnings about how to nurture that resiliency and elasticity, stay adaptable, move more efficiently, and deliver: 

  • Leadership buy-in to champion organization-wide adoption
  • A reshaped program to meet the changing needs of your organization
  • Lowered development costs and larger market share through smart investments and innovation
  • The ability to execute programs with agility to enable continuous and adaptive planning, efficient communication, and rapid iteration for ongoing execution
  • Strengthened collaboration to make strategy happen
  • Effortless consolidation, which is paramount to do more with less and ensure highest levels of efficiency

The key to all this is Wrike — the most comprehensive, versatile, and powerful project management platform available. Watch the entire on-demand series to gain valuable knowledge for your PMO’s growth from our expert panel. Prefer to dive right into Wrike itself? Take our two-week free trial now.

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