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GCHQ – APM PMO of the Year 2019 award winners

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GCHQ – APM PMO of the Year 2019 award winners

The PMO of the Year Award 2019 winner, GCHQ was kind enough to answer some questions about their journey to being award winners!

“Over the past 20 months we have worked extremely hard to transform our PMO to ensure we remained relevant to the challenging mission needs and the variety of delivery approaches across our Enterprise. To embark upon our transformation journey and deliver our PMO we chose an industry partner that would challenge our thinking and be more innovative whilst still ensuring value for money!

We introduced a new community-based operating model and a new outcome-based service delivery model. We stopped lower value activities and services; challenging ….but we got there! We created a new web based finance application which will replace all existing finance tools across the PMO. We also created a PMO+ Portal, a platform providing one gateway and enables self-service to PMO+ knowledge and information. We created new branding and an identity, very similar in that we kept PMO because all our customers would still call us the PMO, but by adding the + to become PMO+ we were signifying that we were different, the service had changed. We submitted our application for the APM PMO of the Year (as we knew the journey we had embarked upon was innovative) and we won – what a journey! However, it still continues; it’s not done!”

As with all PMO’s this one has it’s own DNA, so next we tackled how this PMO stands out from the norm:

“There are several things that make our PMO unique. The first is our Mission, our portfolio is very diverse and enables our PMO to support over 200 projects, programmes and delivery vehicles through being Enterprise-wide. The second, is that we do operate as a true partnership alongside our industry partner.  We are “one PMO” and provide a seamless service to our customers. Our monthly Partnership Award really does make a difference and our staff are always delighted to receive it.”

A key challenge for PMOs is how people react to the changes proposed which add more discipline, and the perception of oversight:

“The business, in the main, has reacted well to our Transformation.  We invested in dedicated change specialists to help and support us through the change, working with key stakeholders, customers and our P3M community. However, it was not without its challenges! As with all customers, it’s very challenging to please them all but throughout our Transformation journey we have maintained above 90% customer satisfaction. This has been achieved through the introduction of our PMO + Team Leads who work very closely with their customers to understand the outcomes required to be delivered, but to also be realistic and manage their expectations.”

Lots of PMOs don’t like to shout about the great stuff they are doing, so we asked GCHQ PMO why they put themselves forward for the 2019 award:

“We wanted to demonstrate to the team that we were really making progress and that we really value the work they do. We thought long and hard before entering – were we in the right place on our journey to do this? What challenges would we incur in being open as GCHQ (and there were plenty – from IT constraints to actually getting our tickets for the Awards night!). It is particularly challenging as our PMO can feel somewhat isolated due to the nature of our business and therefore has very little visibility of industry PMOs. When we found out we were a finalist it was already a great achievement for our PMO.

To actually win was fantastic!

We felt we were on the right path and it was really satisfying to have that verified by the APM. We feel really proud to have that validation.”

What’s next for the GCHQ PMO?

“Transformation doesn’t stop! Our Communities of Excellence will continue as our improvement vehicles; to keep pushing the barriers, growing our capability and getting ready for next Financial Year!”


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