The PMO Hierarchy of Needs - FuturePMO

By Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton

Whilst delivering the APM Accredited PMO Practitioner course, we cover a lot of topics and explore theories with our delegates. One of the discussions that cropped up recently followed on from the introduction of the Wellingtone PMO Principles; with a view on the needs of PMO when considered against the well-known concept of a hierarchy of needs.

In 1943, the US psychologist Abraham Maslow published a paper called A Theory of Human Motivation, in which he said that people had five sets of needs. As each level of needs is satisfied, the desire to fulfil the next becomes apparent.

Theory of Human Motivation - PMO Principles

Physiological needs are the underlying needs that as humans we cannot live without such as Food, water, sleep, and oxygen.

Safety needs whether they be physically, financially or job security.

Social needs such as connections with friends and family.

Esteem needs encompass the desire to have respect and be respected by others, this includes confidence and a sense of self achievement.

Self-actualisation realises one’s full potential and will differ from person to person and represents what people are striving for.

The PMO Perspective

The PMO Perspective - FuturePMO

There are models out there that represent the hierarchy of needs of project (and other) delivery teams, but what about the PMO? It is possible to identify the needs of a PMO and what motivates them to evolve.

Business Problem or Opportunity needs are the reason why PMOs exist and can manifest as projects, programmes, and activity that needs to be monitored and/or controlled.

Value Perception needs provide the safety of the position of PMO and usually appears in the form of active sponsorship and championing of the PMO and its objectives at the senior level.

Partnership needs drive the PMO to be an effective and respected business partner and can include supporting the strategy development of the organisation, and representation across the organisational functions.

Maturity needs enable the PMO to continually improve on the value they generate for the organisation and is often a mapped-out journey with practical steps to achieving each level over a period of time.

Innovation needs realise the full potential of the PMO through targeted transformation, sustaining the core whilst fostering innovation and progress to achieve recognition from both the organisation and (sometimes) the industry.

The PMO hierarchy of needs shows the progression that takes PMOs from a nugget of a concept to bring more discipline to change activity, through to a fit for purpose value adding business partner that supports the organisation in all its project, programme, and portfolio activities.

And like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it provides a perspective on how the PMO priorities develop as it becomes more ‘mature’; more capable across the services it provides that are perceived as valuable by the PMO Customers.

This topic will be covered as part of the Wellingtone PMO Leader course.

By Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton – Director of Consulting Services, Wellingtone