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The Virtual PMO (vPMO) team: threats, opportunities and benefits

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The global Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on project, programme and portfolio delivery, and a rapid increase in the creation of virtual PMO (vPMO) teams.

The virtual PMO (vPMO) team is diverse and multi-disciplinary in teach with members who work in separate locations and geographically dispersed. As a team, the vPMO have the responsibility to define, establish and maintain best practice standards and methodologies on projects, programmes and portfolios across an organisation.

I have led and worked in vPMO teams who have developed and delivered best practice standards and process, encouraging (or mandating where necessary) the use of the standards and processes whilst managing resources i.e. information, human and financial in projects, programmes and portfolios.

Threats are situations that affect the ability of the vPMO team to achieving an organisation’s project, programme and portfolio management objectives.

Procrastination, Bias, Fatigue and Conflict are threats to a thriving and vibrant virtual PMO.

  • Procrastination is the action from postponing decisions and actions unnecessarily. It is often characterised by delaying tasks voluntarily or purposely until the last minute or past set deadlines. Procrastination may happen when organisational objectives are vague, team morale is low, goals are unclear, and communication is poor.
  • Bias often surfaces from unfounded assumptions and beliefs that limit decisions and actions. There are various forms of bias that may pose as threats e.g., unconscious bias, self-serving bias, information bias, selection bias and optimism bias.
  • Fatigue is evident when physical and mental capacity is diminished. The different expressions of fatigue will manifest in listening fatigue, compassion fatigue and energy fatigue.
  • Conflict may be inevitable because of differences in thoughts, perceptions and understanding between individuals within the team. It will be necessary to manage conflict across the three phases of the triggering phase, differentiation phase and resolution phase.


  • Opportunities are favourable chances for improvement and innovation within the vPMO to impact organisational change.
    Opportunities are evidenced and measured through increased empathy, improved team connections, upturn in team performance and organisational productivity.
  • Opportunities for Creative Thinking to challenge the teams’ thinking to explore ideas, discover new ways of doing tasks and develop solutions to create products, processes and procedures in portfolio, programme, and project delivery to influence organisational change.
  • Opportunities for Problem Solving when individuals in the team work together to solve a problem by measuring the extent of the problem, analysing the problem to improve and monitor organisational change through portfolio, programme, and project delivery.
  • Opportunities for Innovation when the team work constantly motivate each other and work together through the lens of continuous improvement and develop prototypes for innovations to organisation systems and culture through portfolio, programme, and project delivery.

There are several benefits to the virtual PMO.

  • Acceleration of business benefits for organisational growth.
  • Fulfilment of organisational strategies through resource and budget management.
  • Wholistic approach and alignment of business and PMO processes.
  • Delivery of value beyond ‘on time, on budget’.
  • Metric-based and data- driven decisions to optimise organisational performance.

The PMO in this context of this blog is the Project Management Office, Programme Management Office and Portfolio Management Office.

Olubukola Feyisetan
APM PMO Specific Interest Group committee member


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