Skip to main content

Catalyze your transformation with a TMO

Building a New Organisational Capability Vital to Future Sustained Market Competitiveness

According to a Harvard Business Review study of 128 organizations going through a transformation, only one in four is successful. These are not very encouraging odds at a time when transformation is imperative to create and sustain a competitive advantage. 

Organizations must find more effective methods to change. Being a new, yet distinct team, the Transformation Management Office (TMO) is uniquely positioned to increase the odds of success. Led by a Chief Transformation Management Officer who is part of the executive team, the TMO brings together a unique set of capabilities to catalyze transformation throughout the organization. This article will dive deeper into a TMO, how it is different from more traditional organizational functions like a Project Management Office or Strategy Delivery Office, how to implement a TMO, and examples of our success stories in transformations via a TMO. By arming leadership with a new approach, a TMO can deliver on the aspiration to transform.

What is a TMO and why do you need one?


A TMO is tasked over a finite period of time with aggressively acting to initiate, define and implement, a radical transformation of processes, facilities, equipment, people, technology, and culture across the breadth of the business.


Transformation requires large amounts of change management, coordination of multiple stakeholders, and, more importantly, people committed to making it happen who have the right skills. Organizations cannot expect to design a list of transformation projects managed by a PMO (Project Management Office) or expect an SDO (Strategy Delivery Office) to do this while executing its key processes.

The TMO engaging with all aspects of the business

The main aspects of a Transformation Management Office

Relationship to the System

TMOs are equipped to challenge and revolutionize the system. They are mandated with an overarching mission to identify opportunities for transformation and are better equipped to avoid the trap of conducting “business as usual.”

Definition of Success

A TMO’s definition of success is the adjustment of a firm to realign the structure, its people, products, services, and delivery to new business value with new or enhanced business capabilities as defined by the CEO and/or Board of Directors.

Skills and Knowledge

TMOs require deep business acumen in all aspects of how the organization functions, as well as an understanding of vision, business strategy, human systems, process improvement, organizational culture, complex systems thinking, and change management.

Ways of Working

A TMO’s native approach is an agile mindset, far more adaptable to rapid change and innovation. A TMO may use short “inspect and adapt” working cycles to design and implement changes as well as prototypes and pilots.

C-Suite Mandate

The leader of the TMO, a Chief Transformation Management Officer (CTMO), is a member of the executive team. This ensures the CTMO has direct access to the leadership of the organization and the authority to challenge the status quo.

TMO is distinct, but can co-exist with a PMO and an SDO

Transformation Management Office Project Management Office Strategy Delivery Office
Focus Focus is on steering profound change. “We are quickly changing and adopting to achieve a new normal.” The focus is on achieving project efficiency. “Our projects are on-time and on budget.” The focus is on delivering value and managing strategy implementation. “We are gradually realizing our outcomes.”
Timespan Medium-term, focusing on complex initiatives that profoundly impact operations and strategy. Typically short-term, focusing on operational change, but has a role in ensuring the efficiency of longer-term initiatives. Long-term, focusing on delivering the ultimate strategic vision.
Planning Approach Using an agile approach to tackle complex problems with real-time planning. Planning and execution of work on initiatives and deliverables. Big-picture planning: ensuring that projects, processes, and actions are always aligned with the strategy.
Performance Management Approach Performance managed by KPI and goal achievement. Performance managed by project/program milestones achieved. Performance is managed by overall results achieved and outcomes delivered (strategic KPIs).
Stakeholder & Communication Actively engage stakeholders through constant feedback loops. Communicate and engage stakeholders for operational reasons: run projects without disruption. Communicate and engage stakeholders for strategic reasons: align everyone to successfully execute the strategy.
Key Skills Required Deep understanding of all aspects of the business, agile methods, coaching, change management, process improvement, project management and transformation. Deep understanding of the project management world. Deep understanding of strategy execution, performance management, and associated skills.

Transformation flows from leadership

Articulate the vision:

  • What is the problem that needs to be solved?
  • What objectives are we trying to accomplish?
  • What does success look like?
  • Why do we want and/or need to transform?
  • What would be the impact of not transforming?

Determine the commitment level for the desired change:

  • Am I personally willing to change?
  • Am I willing to be coached and hold others accountable for the new way of working?
  • Do all leaders have a willingness and commitment to change?
  • If not, will it be possible to overcome this challenge?
  • Am I and the leadership team committed to modeling and becoming vocal sponsors of the change?

What Does a Transformation Roadmap Look Like?

Align with the vision

Leadership articulates the needs and objectives motivating the envisioned change. This establishes their alignment and commitment to transformation. 

Select a CTMO

The Chief Transformation Management Officer is anointed by the CEO and/or Board of Directors and becomes the driver and custodian of transformation. Acting as an executive team member, the CTMO provides the PMO with direct access to leadership. 

Build the core team

Identify key individuals who understand the current business and have the right capabilities to drive change with the potential support of an external advisory. 

Determine approach and plan

Clarify the current state as compared to the desired future state by reviewing the business structure, processes, roles, strategy, culture, and assets. Then the team will need to consider the vision and what that will tactically look like in a future state, based on a gap analysis, the team can determine the best approach to start the work of transformation. 

Engage enablers and remove roadblocks

Put into place the required enablers while uncovering and removing roadblocks. This might include restructuring employee rewards or appraisals, changing how raw materials are delivered, removing past analog systems, or updating production spaces.

Initiate the transformation

Once there is a plan, the work of transformation should begin. Using an agile approach with a focus on small, achievable objectives allows the team to pilot and learn. Especially early in the transformation, the team will need to adjust and correct even restart, as required. 

Learn and share in the success

Frequent retrospectives allow the team to identify and apply the critical lesson learned as they continue the transformation. 

Leverage success by sharing with other teams and focusing on the expansion of the methods that work. 


Guiding Principles for Successful Transformation


A TMO should be time-limited, as it is not ideal to run in a high state of change for more than 3 years.

Remove only the barriers

Remove only the barriers to transformation. It is not necessary to dismantle what is working in the organization such as a PMO or SDO (unless it is a barrier).

The TMO & CTMO can't be “outsourced.”

The TMO and CTMO cannot be “outsourced.” Consultants assist by coaching, training, facilitating, and/or providing short-term staff augmentation. Consultants should not be the voice and face of transformation or “own” any aspect of it.

Transformation should be embedded

Transformation should be embedded into how the company does business. Practices, structures, systems, and processes should be following new ways of working.

Leaders must engage at all levels

Leaders must engage at all levels of the organization, acting as the face and voice of change.

Employee engagement and empowerment

Support employee engagement and empowerment – a key driver to a successful transformation.

Encourage open & honest communication

Encourage open and honest communication by soliciting ideas and welcoming feedback at all levels.

Keep an agile mindset

Visibly reward behaviors that support transformation and keep an agile mindset. Don’t be afraid to try, learn from mistakes, and then course-correct.

Contact us today!

Sia Partners integrates this data in its client database to send you marketing communications (invitations to events, newsletters and new commercial offers).
This data will be kept for 3 years before being deleted and you can withdraw your consent to the processing of your data at any time.
To learn more about the management of your personal data and to exercise your rights, please consult our Data Protection Policy.


Your data are used by Sia Partners to process your contact request. Please note that you have rights regarding your personal data. For more information, we invite you to read our data protection policy