Contact Us

How to Create a Roadmap for Your PMO Vision

executive leadership pmo leadership project management Jul 07, 2023
How to Create a Roadmap for Your PMO Vision

We recently wrote about how an executive establishes a vision for their PMO in 5 Steps to Establish Your PMO’s Vision. As a refresher, a vision for your PMO is a clear and inspiring statement of long-term goals and aspirations. It answers the question of WHY your PMO exists, and provides direction and motivation to work towards common goals. 

You may say, “That sounds great! I followed those steps and have created my vision. Now what?” 

Taking a Trip to Grandma’s House 

The fourth step in 5 Steps to Establish Your PMO’s Vision was to Develop the Plan. The plan is the roadmap for your vision, the path you are going to take to get from Point A to Point B. Point A being where you currently are on your project management journey and Point B where you want to go. In this article, we’ll show you how a trip to Grandma’s house can help explain the process of putting a roadmap together.  

Let’s say you live just a few states away from where your mother lives. You just found out that she’s planning on retiring in a few months and moving to the opposite end of the country! This instills a sense of urgency in you to visit her with your family because you know you won’t be able to see her as frequently after she moves. This is the WHY of the trip to Grandma’s, or the Vision you have created. That’s a great vision, but it’s not going to get you there. You need a roadmap! 

Follow the Roadmap 

Before GPS, a gigantic fold-out map was used to plot vacations and road trips. The designated navigator sat in the front passenger seat and spread the map out, looking for the most direct or scenic route to a destination. You didn’t know if there were detours, traffic, or construction along the way. You took your chances, went in the direction you chose, and adjusted for obstacles. 

So, let’s create a roadmap to get to Grandma’s house, and simultaneously create the roadmap for implementing your PMO vision. Keep in mind that the roadmap we are creating is for THIS trip. Next year, you could have a very different travel vision. It may be to visit another relative or a college campus and it will require a different roadmap. The same holds true for your Organizational Project Management Journey. The PMO Vision you are creating will change over time based upon your company’s needs or for your PMO to hit the next milestone on the Project Management Journey. 
Here are the steps you need to take to create your roadmap: 

  1. Understand What You Want to Do – The trip to Grandma’s house not only includes visiting her with the family, but making a few stops along the way to see some tourist attractions. So, the first thing you do is create a list of everything you want to accomplish. This list also needs to be balanced against how much time you have, number of drivers, your vacation budget, and other constraints you may have.  
    You’ll do the same thing when it comes to executing against your PMO’s vision. Let’s say your vision is to “become the essential department that creates, delivers, and monitors business value”. The first step is to put together a list of everything you want to accomplish that will help you realize your vision. This list also needs to be balanced against what capabilities currently exist. If you are just starting out on your project management journey and are delivering projects in an ad-hoc manner, your team won’t have the maturity to tackle Organizational Project Delivery initiatives. 
    You have a choice to make at this point. You can either take something off your list of initiatives because your team’s not quite there yet, or you can bring in experts to help fast track your project management journey. The PMO Squad has decades of experience delivering Agile, PM and PMO Solutions and would be a great place to start! 
  2. Prioritize Initiatives - You came up with a list of 3 things you would like to do on your trip to Grandma’s house. Now, you have to figure out what order to put them in. Yes, visiting Grandma is a priority, but there’s a theme park along the way you wanted to check out before the summer rush. So, you put that first, visiting Grandma next, and then the other two stops on the way back. 
    When it comes to your PMO, you’ll do the same thing with your list of projects and initiatives that need to be prioritized. Some of these initiatives could be to create project management processes and methodologies, develop project management tools and templates, implement project management training for the team, or deploy project portfolio management software across the company.  
    You can start with projects that have a higher impact but will take longer to complete. Or, you may prioritize less impactful, but faster-to-complete initiatives. If your PMO is brand new, start with the initiatives that take less time to complete and impact the business sooner. If you are an established PMO with a good reputation and track record, you can prioritize those initiatives that will take more time. 
  3. Develop a Timeframe - Next, you have to fit the trip to Grandma’s house plus the 3 other stops along the way into the 2 weeks you have for vacation. Take your prioritized list above and designate the amount of time spent at each activity: 2 days at the theme park, 5 days at Grandmas and 4 more days at the remaining 2 stops. Determine how long it will take to get to each destination and factor that in as well. The road trip puzzle is starting to come together nicely. 
    The same thing will happen when you develop a timeframe for your PMO vision roadmap. It’s been said that a goal without a deadline is just a dream. You want to make sure your vision moves out of dream state and turns into reality. Assign a realistic timeframe to each of the prioritized initiatives. Most executives move fast and want everything done yesterday. A properly functioning PMO takes time to mature. For example, The PMO Squad has observed that it takes 12-18 months to move from Ad Hoc Project Management to Standardizing Project Delivery on the Project Management Journey map. And, up to 5-10 years for your PMO to Generate Value, the final stop on the Project Management Journey map. 
    Rushing things sets everyone up for failure, including you as the executive. Make sure you understand the time and effort necessary to implement the vision, and the pitfalls that may present themselves along the way. 
  4. Identify Key Activities - For the road trip to Grandma’s, you now know where you’re going, how long you’ll be spending at each stop, and how long it will take to get there. You can now break the trip down even further and include practical activities such as driving in shifts the first day, stopping for lunch, and other stops along the way for gas and to stretch your legs. 
    As far as your PMO, you can take the prioritized and time-bound initiatives and projects that will help realize your vision and break them into further activities. Think Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to help visualize how this will work. Take each initiative and break it into its component parts. You are now at the point of having an actionable plan to work against. Just one more step to go. 
  5. Allocate Resources - Who’s going to drive the early morning shift on the way to Grandma’s and who’s going to drive the late-night shift? How much money will be needed to fund this trip? What snacks, games, movies, and reading material will be brought along to ensure everyone has a good time? Answering these questions and making sure schedules, money, and entertainment care packages are brought along will help ensure everyone arrives in one piece. 
    You need to do the same thing for your PMO roadmap. All the plans you’ve been working on won’t magically occur by themselves. It’s going to take people, process, and technology to implement your vision. Work with your team to ensure they have what they need in all three areas, and fill in any gaps as they occur.   

There are a couple of other things to keep in mind now that you’ve made it to this point of assembling your PMO roadmap. First, create realistic expectations for the organization as well. Like you, they are going to want to see changes happen overnight. Remind your colleagues that changes and improvements won’t happen that fast, especially early on in the process. But, give it a little time, and the impact your PMO has will compound as each month goes by. 
And, make adjustments along the way. This is going to be new territory for you. Even if you know where you’re going, there are going to be the ‘unknown unknowns’ that pop up and surprise you. Factor time into your plan for these surprises and adjust accordingly. 

Congratulations! You’ve now gone from a vision (become the essential department that creates, delivers, and monitors business value) to a well-thought-out, easy-to-understand and easy-to-follow roadmap to get you there.  

Be sure to say hi to your grandmother along the way! 


How to Create a Strategy for Your PMO 

A strategy is a comprehensive plan or approach designed to achieve specific goals or objectives. The following steps will help keep you aligned with your executive leadership team. 

  1. Know Your PMOs Purpose - Get with your executive team and find out why the PMO was created in the first place. You want to make sure that your PMO is supporting the goals and objectives that were considered important when the PMO was initially formed.  
  2. Work on Activities that Support your Purpose - It’s easy to fall prey to shiny object syndrome and chase after things that would be fun to work on, but not support the objectives of the company. Constantly review to ensure that your PMO activities are strategic in nature (aka as critical to the company) and not something that could be easily eliminated or outsourced. 
  3. Adjust as Necessary - Immediately adjust if you find you are working on non-strategic initiatives. Here’s a rule of thumb to follow - you either sell the goods or services your company offers, or you enable someone else to sell those goods and services. If your PMO is working on anything different, make adjustments. 

Creating a strategy for your PMO and following through on it is great for the company and great for your PMO! 


Shiny Object Syndrome - Shiny object syndrome is a continual state of distraction brought on by an ongoing belief that there is something new worth pursuing. It often comes at the expense of what's already planned or underway. 

Strategy - The strategic initiatives a company pursues to create value for the organization and gain a competitive advantage in the market. Strategy is crucial to a company’s success and is needed before any goods or services are produced or delivered. 

Are you lost or struggling to gain traction on your Project Management Journey?

Schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session with one of our experts so that we can discover your challenges, design your solution, and implement success in your projects!

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.