PMO Flashmob Bans “Added Value”

Last week it was the APMG Showcase, an annual event that showcases the APMG products. It’s a mix of expo, masterclasses, keynotes and something called “birds of a feather” sessions. These are just a roundtable discussion for about 45 minutes on a given topic. The PMO Flashmob hosted two sessions.

We started out just getting an understanding of who people were and what their pain points might be in their PMO today. Like any random session like this, we had no idea who was going to sit down and start chatting – a bit like a PMO Flashmob in other words – so we had no idea what direction it might take.

Needless to say we came away with loads more questions which would work particularly well at a future PMO Flashmob event – in fact, why not come along to the next one and we’ll try some out on you 🙂

One of the takeaways for me was BANNING the phrase “VALUE ADD”and “ADDING VALUE” in relation to PMOs.


We don’t want to talk in business riddles do we? Isn’t it difficult enough to articulate what the PMO is there to do without adding nonsense words like “adding value” or its a “value add PMO”?

It was interesting hear from other PMO people during the day (and not just at our sessions) who frequently use this phrase.

But what does it all really mean? I have no clue what “adding value” means to anyone else’s situation other than my own. We think we might know what it means but…

We shouldn’t hide behind phrases like this – we should be able to articulate what that really means. And we should ask others what it really means to them too. We might learn a hell of a lot more if we did.

If “adding value” means helping senior managers with decision-making based on the information the PMO provides – say it.

It it means changing a process that doesn’t work and then embedding it across the projects – say that too.

So the next time you hear that phrase, call someone out on it and ask them what they really mean by that, what examples can you give.

And if you hear it coming out of your own mouth, it’s time to ditch it and say what you really mean.



PMO Flashmob

PMO Flashmob APMG Showcase

About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

One comment

  1. The trouble with ‘added value’ is that it is a phrase that we get from the senior management and in the NLP way to be like our customer we re-use the words that they use.
    Perhaps it goes wider than just the PMO, and is more ingrained in our organisations.
    I see there being similar words that we need to describe in more detailed terms such as ‘better’ and ‘improve’. Such as we want to be get better and improve our project failure rates they are currently at 20%. Does that mean that we want to make them 40%?

    Time to improve the value I add – I better (sic) get down to a flashmob

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