What the Fashion Industry can teach us about PMO-as-a-Service

I love fashion. And I love my job as a Project Management expert.
Two facets of life that are about as far removed from each other as it’s possible to be, right?
Well, perhaps not.
I believe the fashion industry can teach us some important lessons about project management.
While clothes throughout the world follow the same basic design and purpose, the way we wear them, the combinations, colors and cuts means that we can create our own, unique styles. And, of course, our fashion sense is led not just by personal taste but by body shape and size.
Just as everyone has their own unique preferences in fashion style, companies also have unique requirements for managing projects. Successful fashion houses know their customers and deliver exactly what they’re looking for. It’s very similar to how Project Management Office (PMO) service providers deal with our clients – every case has the same basic requirements but comes with its own unique needs and ways of working.
And the parallels don’t end there (for me at least). Like the fashion industry, BPO is a very exciting and innovative business to be in right now. BPO professionals are always working to develop the next new thing that will dramatically enhance our clients’ business.
From Robotics to Cloud-based “as-a-service” developments, BPO has matured to being a gateway to competitive differentiation for many companies.  

BPO comes to the Project Management Office 

PMO is an area where I really see the results of this maturity. PMO is a business function that specifies, manages and reports on projects within the organization. Over the past decade, our own project management function has progressed naturally through the many client projects we have delivered. We complete hundreds of projects every year, and leverage this experience for the benefit of our clients.
And yet, at the same time, many businesses continue to face a number of common project challenges when it comes to project management. These include the quality of deliverables, timely milestone realization, control, efficient reporting and comprehensive budget alignment.
Thankfully, there is a significant trend towards bringing that expertise together with the opportunities to resolve the project management challenges.
Indeed, such are the developments in the industry in recent times that savvy clients are now pushing their service providers to deliver more agile, flexible project management services molded to their core business operations. Additionally, as with many of our clients, further effectiveness and efficiency benefits can be derived when PMO-as-a-Service is delivered in conjunction with Finance & Accounting, Human Resources or Supply Chain BPO outsourcing projects.

PMO as a Service  

At the risk of laboring the fashion industry analogy, for me, PMO-a- a-Service is a lot like shoes in the fashion industry. They may not be the biggest part of your wardrobe, but shoes are the foundation – and are extremely important in making sure that your outfits look amazing. PMO-as-a-Service is the stylish pair of shoes that walks the client through the successful completion of a project.
In a recent blog post Andrzej Hutniczak wrote of the benefits of the growing ‘as-a-service’ or ‘Stack’ approach. I see PMO-as-a-Service as being very much part of this movement   with the same consolidation and standardization from the Stack now available to our clients for their PMO function.
So try on the coat – see if the shoes fit – find out more about PMO-as-a-Service here.

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