Organisations often bring in external consulting support when they are looking to undertake a change or transformation, or when they are looking to supplement their existing internal skills with extra capacity or capability. Typically to deliver a project or other short-term commitment. This approach has many advantages to the business. The team get additional skills without making a long-term commitment in terms of hiring permanent staff or training the existing workforce. This enables them to undergo the transformation or deliver the project and then go back to a ‘business as usual’ organisational structure in a relatively straight forward way, knowing they are in safe hands.
While this ability to pick up temporary skills or expertise is usually the main reason that organisations work with consultants, it is often only a part of the value proposition. Many of the PMO leaders we work with tell us that, while the value brought through experience and extra capacity is invaluable, one of the major benefits of consulting support has been that the lead consultant will often have a seat at the leadership table and can help to explain and showcase to senior leadership what the PMO are doing and why it’s important.
This new external lens often doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of information, but if the consultant is supportive of the what the PMO are trying to achieve, it will often bring the kind of credibility which means that senior leaders can behave like they’re hearing it for the first time.
The role of a high performing PMO team is to support leadership in making good decisions based on data that comes from how well the organisation is delivering its strategic goals in the form of investments (projects). Sometimes this data can tell a story that is unpalatable to leadership – either financially or from a team performance perspective, and occasionally the PMO can be the scapegoat for this bad news. Having an external consultant working within the team can validate the approach being taken and can be an important step in helping leadership realise that PMOs are one of the most important functions in the business. With the external and impartial view of a consultant, leadership teams can come to understand that high performing PMOs provide a quantitative picture of delivery performance, not only for individual projects and programs, but crucially on how the organisation is delivering on its planned strategy.
Talk to us today if you think your PMO would benefit from external consulting support.