Everything you wanted to know about PMOs

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Posted by Catherine Bendell on 7th Feb 2018

On 6 February 2018 I was invited to co-host a Midlands branch event at Milton Keynes College to give delegates an insight into the world of PMO.

In the room, were some project and PMO people whose PMOs have been in place for up almost 10 years, as well as some that were just starting out on their journey.

The presentation was designed to give an overview of the history, PMO remit, PMO people, and some hints and tips on how to get one off the ground (or transformed) successfully.

I always love to ask a question around the perception of PMO, and it still surprises me that even now we still have many people whose experience of working alongside a PMO (as a project manager in particular) still airs on the side of 'command control' function.

I've said it a million times before, I'm sure! PMOs can never get away from the fact that there is an element of our remit that assures compliance and encourages discipline. But it seems to me that some PMOs are still a bit lost as to how to do that in a productive way - which is a real shame.

In November, I ran a webinar around building a PMO Culture and expressed that in today's workplace it is imperative that people feel like they are part of your PMO journey. PPM Maturity should not be an exclusive club, we don't own all the good ideas and those that are living with our method and standards keep in their heads the most useful feedback you could ever get.

So, embrace them, work with them, bring them cake, and you will get a different response if your PMO is a victim of this perception.

During the Q&A we also discussed the need for a PMO to be function in its own right. Following my Aberdeen presentation last year, I wrote a short piece on the fact that you can have PMO-esque skills dotted around your organisation, all doing parts of the role a 'traditional' PMO would do. That is perfectly legitimate and the only thing your organisation needs to do in this instance is bring those people together periodically so that they can talk and align where possible.

Remember that PMOs are integrators. They are supposed to bring people and processes together for the good of the organisation - in whatever form, and whatever name you give it!

Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton
APM PMO SIG Chair

 

The presentation can also be viewed on the APM Slideshare page.

 

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