The Digital PMO

How PMOs need to Digitalize themselves and evolve to support their organization Digital transformation



By By Waffa Karkukly, PhD and Ian Laliberte, MBA

Ontario, Canada




Congratulations! Your executives are ready to go Digital. Is your PMO ready to become Digital?

PMOs have proven their success and their worth in the industry; we do not need to re-prove this fact.  This series of three articles will explore the need for PMOs to digitalize themselves and evolve towards their organizations’ needs in order to support their organization digital transformation. In the first article, the authors will shed light on PMOs today and explore, what it means for PMOs to digitalize themselves and the areas of focus to achieve a DTPMO (Digital PMO).  In the second article, we will explore how DTPMOs can shift the current thinking to forward thinking and facilitate their organization digital transformation to move from a project base focus to a product base focus. In the last article, the authors will focus on the ultimate future destination for the digital office to become the core unit in their organizations to connect all CoE’s (Center of Excellence) and sustain a product/platform-based organization.  Furthermore, we will share a case study that explores the digitalization journey, and how one organization was successful in their transformation.

Key Words: Digital PMO, DTPMO, DTMO, EPMO, SPO, SRO, CGO,


(Gartner 2019) Nearly two-thirds of CEOs and senior business executives already have a digital business transformation initiative underway at their organization. Some 90% of corporate leaders view digital business initiatives as a top priority, but 83% are not making any meaningful progress. In addition, 60% of EPMOs are not aligned to the strategic direction, or ready to enable their organization digital transformation.  PMOs need to become digital themselves before they are able to support their organization’s digital transformation. The industry is predicting that by 2021 which is less than two years from this article date, a 50% of large organizations will have hubs to enable digital transformation (e.g. Digital COEs, Transformation COEs, Agile COEs, etc.).  For who is leading the way?

Elements for Digital Transformation

“Future proofing your business as Digital is woven into everything we do” (Deloitte, 2019). This statement speaks to how digital is shaping our everyday life at the individual level and as consumers of products and services, soon will demand services if organizations are not embracing and moving forward faster than their competition, they might be left behind. First, what does it mean to be digital? Organizations today are struggling with a consistent definition to what “digitalization” means, to some it is automating the business including client experience via mobile, social media, etc. For others, it is instituting the myriad of practices PPM, Agile, Platforms, PMO, COEs, etc. and trying to make sense of which way will help them compete in the future. Second, what are the main digital transformations elements that drove transformations? They can be summarized into: Automation, Connectivity, Real-time information, Change management, and Risk management. Digital business transformation is changing the PMO/EPMO operating context. Before we explore how we foresee this happens, let’s explore today’s PMO landscape successes and challenges.


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How to cite this article: Vanderjack, B. (2019).  What is the Difference Between DevOps and Scrum? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/pmwj85-Sep2019-Karkukly-Laliberte-the-digital-pmo-part1.pdf



About the Authors

Dr. Waffa Karkukly

Ontario, Canada




Dr. Waffa Karkukly, PhD, MIT, PMP, ACP, CMP has over 20 years’ experience in IT, and Project Management. Waffa has helped fortune 100, midsize, and small sized organizations improve their project management practices and PMO establishments through building scalable standards and proven solutions that improved their delivery process. She held many positions ranging from big 5 to small startups where she held the responsibility of managing IT strategy and operation; in her career progression she became head of PMO with titles ranging from director to VP, responsibilities ranging from $50 million to $1billion in Enterprise assets for global and international organizations.

Waffa is a strategist and change agent who had many organizations’ transformations in building agile organization culture and building CoE for IT organizations. Waffa teaches various beginners and advance project management and IT courses at various Ontario universities and colleges. She is a program and curriculum lead developer for variety of topics aligning education certificates with practical industry needs and trends.

Waffa holds a BSC in Information Systems from DePaul University, an MIT from Northwestern University, and a PhD from SKEMA School of Business. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Professional (ACP), and Change Management Practitioner (CMP) who is dedicated to improving the understanding and standards of project management practices especially in the Value proposition of Strategy execution via Portfolio Management and PMO.

Waffa is an active PMI member who has held various positions of Director of Communication for the PMO CoP and Regional communication coordinator for the PMOLIG. Waffa was one of the committee members that built the standards for PMI-OPM3. She is a volunteer and an Academic Reviewer for PMI’s academic paper proposals selection. She contributes often in project management publications and is a frequent speaker in project management chapters and forums.

Dr Karkukly can be contacted at karkuklyw@yahoo.com


Ian Laliberte

Ontario, Canada




Ian Laliberte, MBA, PMP, PRINCE2, is Vice President of Delivery Transformation, responsible for the TD’s strategy and transformation to ‘Agile Ways of working’. Ian joined TD in January 2014 as Vice President, Canadian Banking, Auto Finance and Wealth Management PMO and led the transformation of the project execution framework. In this role, he was responsible for managing the end-to-end delivery of the change portfolio for both business and technology initiatives.  From there, Ian then took on the role of Vice President of Delivery, Shared Services, where he was responsible for strategy, operating model and overall operations of IT for Canadian Banking and Wealth.

In over 20 years he has held senior positions leading business and IT transformation through turnaround, realignment and revitalization within international distribution, manufacturing, insurance (Life and GI) and banking industries.  Before joining TD, Ian held diverse Information technology, Project Management, and leadership roles at Canadian Bearings.  He has also held executive technology roles with Aviva Insurance, which included Change and IT Strategy, EPMO, Management Information & Analytics, and he has led Commercial Lines business transformation and the implementation of a business and operating model for Aviva’s Digital business.

Ian graduated from New York Institute of Technology with an MBA in Global Management. Ian’s leadership thinking has also been recognized as part of the top 50 thought-leaders in change excellence, and he has been published in 2014 Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence – 3rd Ed (by Dr. Kerzner), collaborated in 2012 Managing the PMO Lifecycle, by Dr. Karkukly, and many other recent PMI article and publications on standards.

Ian can be contacted at ian.laliberte@sympatico.ca