Amgen Case Study

Vision and Strategy for Corporate PMO COE


As a result of solid growth, Amgen made a strategic decision to change markets from being a biotechnology firm to transform into a pharmaceutical company over a three year period. Executive management, given the growth and plan, decided they needed to determine the right structure and fit of a PMO that would support the corporate vision.


Amgen had a nominal PMO in place providing only executive reporting on projects currently in flight. PMO processes were informal and inconsistently applied, and did not actively promote best practices, standards and tools to ensure consistency in project delivery. In addition, it was unclear how the PMO function should be structured to meet the needs of the business. Executive management identified nine high priority strategic projects that had to be completed in order to meet the corporate vision over the next three years. Historically, when Amgen simultaneously activated multiple projects/initiatives, it had a negative effect on sta morale and a detrimental impact on meeting deadlines and the quality of the deliverables.


WCI leveraged our proprietary tool, The Project Oce Advantage™ (POA), to guide us through the process. Our model allows us to create Project Offices tailored to the specifics of the client organization and develop project capabilities to meet strategic goals. The POA model spans the full spectrum of Project Office development, from a specific component to total, integrated, end-to-end capability.
WCI assigned two senior consultants to the engagement with expertise in PMO and Change Management disciplines.
WCI’s team concentrated on two objectives:
  1. How should Amgen organize its Project Oce function at a corporate level in order to deliver on its vision and support its expected growth within the next three years?
  2. How to position the Strategic Planning and Special Projects in order to optimize its contribution to achieving Amgen’s vision and objectives?
The first task was to outline the guiding principles for the assignment.
  • Inclusive Process: Involve as many stakeholders as possible in the process – no substitute to executives’ decision-making role
  • Operational Strategy: Recommended solution must be sustainable and scalable over time – best practices and stakeholders’ expectations rather than textbook theory
  • Realistic Implementation: PMO Model to respect the specificity of business areas while providing corporate governance and oversight. The implementation must be in line with AMGEN’s level of change readiness and Project Management maturity.
By utilizing The Capacity Power Builder in combination with conducting stakeholder interviews we were able to determine the following:
  1. Assess Project Management maturity level
  2. Assess organizational readiness for change
  3. Capture requirements and test assumptions
  4. Define decision criteria and success drivers/factors
The Service Mix Optimizer provided the necessary framework to develop the service portfolio the PMO would offer to the organization.
Based on requirements gathered from stakeholders supported by industry best practices related to performance management, the Project Oce will provide the following services:
  1. Strategic Planning
  2. Change Management
  3. Project Management
  4. Reporting & Analytics
The Vision Navigator and The Engagement Factor were utilized to provide potential options for the PMO structure, Governance and Accountability. Three possible scenarios were considered:
  1. Fully centralized configuration – where a single department fulfills all functions
  2. Fully de-centralized configuration – where any business area is allowed to set-up a Project Oce that operates
  3. Independently from the rest of the organization
  4. Hybrid configuration – where the organization is a mix of centralized and decentralized structure.
Once the project management maturity level, service mix and the PMO corporate structure options had been established, WCI completed a comprehensive 22-month Roadmap addressing the most pressing needs from both service offering and delivery capabilities development perspectives. A reassessment of the situation was recommended within 12-18 months from the launch of the new department.


WCI presented our findings and recommendations to the executive team. We outlined the current maturity level, the recommended service portfolio and provided analysis of the three options for structuring the PMO. After evaluating the company vision, environment and culture, WCI recommended that the Hybrid Solution model for the PMO would be the best fit for Amgen.
Executive management agreed with our recommendation. The Hybrid model would include a strategic office and cross-functional pockets of excellence in various divisions of the organization. Following Amgen’s initial development, with support from Watershed CI, we were invited back to continue to the next level of maturity integrating a simplified form of portfolio management and implementation of methodology and tools.

Why Watershed CI?

As experts in the field of Change Integration™, we recognize that one size does not fit all. Each client comes with distinctive needs, culture, level of maturity and tolerance for complexity. We weigh these factors when selecting the appropriate solution – this ensures the suite of deliverables achieve high-quality, customized results.