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PMO newsletter July 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of the APM PMO SIG Newsletter!

In this issue of our newsletter you can find out what PMO SIG have been up to as well as some of the exciting events we have coming up. All wrapped up with a dose of the hot topics from around the industry and our first ever PMO Wisdom interview!

If you have any comments on the newsletter or would like to contribute an article to a future edition, please contact us


stay connected with the PMO SIG



Newsletter contents
1. A word from the PMO SIG Chair
2. Research
3. Marketing
4. PMO Curator
5. Book review
6. Events
7. PMO SIG Out and About
8. PMO SIG Volunteers

1. A word from the PMO SIG Chair

Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter. This month is particularly exciting because with a new committee, we are launching lots of new initiatives and events tailored to the feedback you have given us in the past.

Firstly, our PMO SIG Wisdom series has been taken to a whole new level! Our Summer School Webinars have taken place since our last newsletter, and our Lessons Learned Roadshow is now launched and ready for you to book.

The roadshow came about from the feedback we received in our State of the PMO UK survey published in January in conjunction with Wellingtone Project Management. The idea of the roadshow is that we will bring Lessons Learned to you! The Lessons Learned Roadshow will take place at two locations: (i) London in September; and (ii) Salford in November (thanks to the North West branch of the APM).

Our annual conference is in the making! The value of the PMO is consistently being challenged – so our theme for this year is PMO and Value. The whole day will be geared around the value lifecycle and will include some speakers from across the industry and lots of time for you to meet and work with your peers to delve deeper into this topic.

Lastly, today we are launching out first PMO Wisdom Interview series! A selection of speakers from around the world who have been (and will continue to be) interviewed in order to get as much PMO Wisdom out of them as we can for you! We are very excited about this initiative because it’s the first time PMO SIG are branching out into the world of video and audio media to deliver our aim of bringing PMOs back to basics.

So, keep telling us what works, what doesn’t work and what you would like to see, we hope to meet you at one of our events soon!

Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

2. Research

Research is in motion! Have you heard the news about the upcoming PMO SIG conference? The research workstream will have a major role to play in the conference and is currently focusing on the value of PMOs and how this is captured in the PM literature. Will the literature support the view of practitioners or is there something out there that we should pay more attention to? Want to know more? Stay tuned.

What next?

We will continue with our investigation work, but in the meantime, if you want to know more and/or get involved, just get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!


3. Marketing

LinkedIn hot topics
Some of our favourites from LinkedIn

Been out of the LinkedIn loop recently? Here are some of the conversations we felt would be valuable if you could give your opinions/experiences.

Whatever you do, don't call it a PMO!
Laura Barnard
What’s in a name? In this thought-provoking article, Laura Barnard argues that PMOs have gotten a bad reputation, and gives her view on how to change this perception.

Is Your Organisation Heading For A Prexit?
Colin Ellis
After all the discussion about the Brexit, Colin Ellis dares to ask about a potential Prexit – does your organisation understand the value of Project Management or is your approach to delivering projects and programmes being challenged?

4 Reasons PMOs are Hated
Jen L. Skrabak
‘Hate’ may be a strong word, but the reality is that not all PMOs are loved as we would like. In this post, Jen Skrabak identifies some of the reasons that got us here and what we can do to about it.

Festival of PMO Blogging Challenge 22-26 August 2016
In August, take part in a five day challenge blogging and sharing your own and your favourite blogs about PMO.


4. PMO Curator

For each publication, we like to pick out a selection of PMO related news and interesting media from other sources and neatly package them so they are easy for you to locate.  This time, we have not just one but two very interesting resources for you to use in your PMOs!

Measures for Assuring Projects
The APM Assurance SIG has just released this awesome toolkit which consists of a summary sheet for rating project assurance and examples of evidence that support a good assurance measure score. If your PMO is looking to increase its assurance capability or for a fresh look into your project health check template – no need to thank us! - you will certainly love this new toolkit, free to download here.

Course Conductor
There’s a new platform in town for those of you looking for a Project Management training provider. This peer-review platform enables people who have been in a training course to leave their review and rate the training received, so that you can partner only with the best of the best. Aiming to empower better skills for a better world, this platform promises to also clean a gallon of infected water every time a review is posted – how cool is that?

Becoming a PMO Manager Interview
Our Chair, Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton was interviewed for on her journey to become a PMO professional.


5. PMO Wisdom Series

Book review

As part of our on going PMO Wisdom series, we asked PMO SIGs Marisa Silva to review The Light and Fast Organisation: A Way of Dealing with Uncertainty by Patrick Hollingworth. A new book for you to pick up maybe?

To whet your appetite, here is the opening paragraph of Marisa’s review:
“Two words in the title of this book say it all: despite having 224 pages, this is a book that will provide you with a light read and, believe me, you will read it fast, very fast, because you won’t want to put it down. Business and mountaineering are similar in many ways and Patrick Hollingworth, an experienced climber and someone passionate about mountains, did a great job translating his passion and knowledge into a business setting.”

The next book to be reviewed has been produced by the APM Planning Monitoring and Control SIG and is titled ‘A Guide to Conducting Integrated Baseline Reviews (IBR)’. The review will be undertaken by PMO SIGs Stewart Wragg. 

PMO wisdom interview

In our last newsletter, we told you about our drive to get PMO Wisdom to you. Well, we have been very busy over the last few months and have arranged and held a number of interviews, which will be published over the coming weeks and months. 

Today we launch our first ever PMO Wisdom Series Interview with our first interviewee, Mike Kane.

Mike is the Programme Controls Manager for the United Utilities Asset sixth Management Programme (AMP6). In his interview, Mike talks about how he is helping United Utilities set-up a long term enterprise wide Programme Management Office which currently comprises approximately 200 project and programme professionals.

Coming up on this series of interviews:

  • Laura Barnard, the CEO of PMO Strategies, which provides training, coaching, advisory and consulting services to various organisations. 
  • Colin Ellis, who is Managing Director of Colin D Ellis and author of ‘The Conscious Project Leader’. 
  • Peter Taylor, Head of Global PMO for Kronos, speaker and author of numerous books including ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

What next? More interviews to come – some will be video, others audio, and we are even going old school with some articles!


6. Events

PMO SIG Events

PMO wisdom series: lessons learned 101 roadshow, 7th September, London & 23rd November, Salford
According to the results of The State of PMO UK Survey published in January 2016, Lessons Learned is the 3rd process that is most difficult to embed in organisations. This set of evening events from the PMO SIG and the North West branch will provide you with an opportunity to get some insight, feedback, and real-life ideas on how to resolve this particular problem.

PMO SIG Annual Conference “PMO and Value”, 25th October, London
“What’s the point of your PMO?” - a question often asked and rarely answered sufficiently to appease the enquirer.

Does your PMO define its value?
Can your PMO articulate what it brings to the table?
Does your organisation understand the value of its PMO?
Can your organisation critically examine the value of your PMO through effective measurement?
Does your PMO communicate its value adding services?

If you answer No to any of these questions, then this year’s PMO SIG Annual Conference is for you!

In the heart of London, the PMO and Value conference will bring together experiences, leadership, wisdom, and themes to support PMO leaders and members define, articulate, deliver, and demonstrate the value of their PMO organisation.

PMOs in the MoD, 2016 date TBC
This event by the Thames Valley branch and AWE will aim to bring PMO people from the MoD to explore the different needs, nuances, and challenges and successes. A date is yet to be confirmed but this is sure to be a very interesting event for anyone in that field.

Other Events

Crossrail Reporting, 28th July, Webinar recording
An opportunity to understand what good reporting looks like from a high profile, highly complex programme that is shaping the standards of project management in England.

We really need to talk about professional judgement: A Knowledge SIG Courageous Conversation event, 27th September, Oxford
As professionals, we are often asked to use our professional judgement to pick the ‘best answer’ to a problem with lots of potential solutions. But what does this mean? In this Knowledge Specific Interest Group Courageous Conversation event, Eileen Roden and Judy Payne invite you to explore how professional judgement is developed, how it is employed in decision making and the inherent accountability associated with professional judgement.

Successful change - good culture and governance matter, 6th October, London
A full day conference organised by the Governance SIG will debate how ‘Getting it right for your organisation’ necessitates an integrated long-term strategy built upon participation and governance.  Speakers will discuss and explain real life examples of how good culture and good governance go hand-in-hand to ensure change success so this is definitely an event not to be missed.

A world in which all projects succeed - but not without risk management, 10th October, Cheshire
The Association for Project Management (APM) North West branch has collaborated with the Risk Specific Interest Group, with support from the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) and the Nuclear Industry Risk Management Association (NIRMA) to bring you an exciting full day event that will address all you always wanted to know about risk, opportunity and issue management competencies.

7. PMO SIG Out and About

PMO SIG Webinars June & July 2016

Our Summer School of webinars focusing on the main types of PMOs has now concluded. Its aim? To bring PMOs back to basics, provide practitioners and those new to PMO with an understanding of ‘what the P stands for’.

The first of the two looked at temporary project offices and programme offices that are set up to support a single project or programme, and the second looked at permanent programme offices and portfolio office that support multiple project or programmes at either a delivery or strategic level.

The webinars posed various options and directions to attendees who were quite active with their questions. Unfortunately it was not possible to respond to the questions during the time we had, so we have made the slides available for you to catch up, as well as document the specific questions we received – all of which are available here.

Did you attend one of our Webinars? You still have time to tell us what you thought using the following links (surveys will remain open until the first week in August):
PMO 101 Summer School Webinar 1: Project and Programme Offices, June 2016 –
PMO 101 Summer School Webinar 2: Programme and Portfolio Offices, July 2016  –

2016 Benefits Summit 23rd June 2016
Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton
All in all, the Benefits Summit was full, with insightful speakers, and lots of interaction. A good day had by all!

I was one of the people tasked with running a workshop – PMO and its Role in Benefits Management. My workshop was oversubscribed (feedback so far from delegates has been very positive so I will take that as a win – not that I’m competitive. At all. Honest!). The session was geared to get the delegates talking.

We discussed the merits of understanding what value means to different organisations and the types of benefits that exist, followed by why benefits management is so hard to embed, the blockers, and political aspects of it.

The groups worked and scribbled on large pieces of paper, which allowed us to draw a picture of benefits management means. A lot of the output was similar across the tables, but the interpretation of value differed widely. This piece is so important and is often overlooked in favour of the financial gains – not the driver actually in a lot of cases!

The groups were then asked to start to pull it all together and develop some strategies and ideas on how to address those hard to surpass challenges.

You can read all about them here.

What next? Lessons Learned and the value of the PMO are the next big things! You can check out our upcoming events here.

8. PMO SIG Volunteers

Are you interested in getting involved with the PMO Specific Interest Group?

Becoming a volunteer is very rewarding! With access to like-minded individuals, PMO SIG (and other) events and opportunities to drive the PMO industry forward, it can help to increase your knowledge and expertise and will do no harm to your personal career path!

You will need to commit some of your spare time when you volunteer to be a committee member, but there are plenty of things to get involved with of all shapes and sizes; from contributing to the newsletter to helping to develop best practice and organising events.

If this sounds like you then it starts with just one step, contact a committee member today, and submit your application for the annual AGM in the Spring.

Want to check us out first? Alternatively, you can join as a member to receive news and information on PMO SIG.

Use the link on the APM website (you may need to login or register first) and clicking on the "Join this Group" button.


Nominations for APM Board elections are now open

APM has a democratic process for electing its board. This is fundamental for APM – our board is comprised of members and elected by members. Can you help us lead the association?

We need our board to comprise committed, high calibre and experienced individuals. The ability to think and act strategically is considered a prerequisite. Previous experience of working at senior executive and board level is therefore highly desirable. The board is also keen to be diverse and seeks nominations from members who can bring a broad range of backgrounds, skills and experiences. If you are not personally interested, please consider encouraging others to stand.

Any full member or fellow who feels they have what it takes to fulfil this key role is encouraged to submit a nomination form by 21 September. You are strongly encouraged to read the briefing pack in full. The nominations form is included within it.

For a first-hand account of what the APM is looking for and the benefits of serving on the board, watch Sue Kershaw discuss exactly what it takes to be an APM board member and learn how you could be part of the future of APM.

Once all nominations have been received, full members will review and elect their preferred candidates. The timeline for the elections is as follows:

Nominations close

21 September 2016

Elections open

10 October 2016

Elections close

10 November 2016

AGM - Results announced   

21 November 2016

If you have any queries, please contact the company secretary. Contact details are in the briefing pack


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