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PMO newsletter May 2016

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

In this quarterly issue you can find out about what have we been up to in the first months of 2016, including new initiatives launched, exciting upcoming events, and all the latest news from around the industry. Finally, we had our AGM just a couple of days ago and are happy to announce the composition of the 16/17 SIG Committee, and extend a warm welcome to the newly elected Committee Members!

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

As we move into a new (official) year for PMO SIG, it’s important to review what the 2015-2016 committee have achieved.

The committee worked hard to redefine the SIG in terms of structure, a review of its objectives, and raison d’etre, as well as identify new ways of working.

The team faced some challenges in scheduling events as it is important not to clash with other events happening around the industry – the team made the decision to focus on one main conference as a result of the clash.

But what a conference it was! The SIG’s 15th birthday conference provided us with a unique mix of speakers who brought something new to a lot of PMO people – from dealing with people dealing with change, to the nuts and bolts of social working.

Following on from the conference we hoped to create a Yearbook as a keepsake for all the delegates, and to do this we arranged for photos to be taken and some PMO wisdom to be collected from everyone. Unfortunately, there were issues with obtaining the photos and the formatting of them which have meant we have been unable to complete this particular task.

The PMO wisdom however will be utilised in a digital way! We feel that these nuggets are gold-dust for people moving into the PMO industry in particular, so want to be able to shout about the advice our delegates would give themselves if they could go back in time.

Our greed for PMO wisdom has grown and evolved together with finding new ways of working – so we are arranging to publish interviews with PMO people from all over the PMO industry and ask them for their views – keep your eyes peeled!

The Brain Science workshop at our conference was very popular, so a follow up event has taken place in the form of an intimate session with Carole Osterweil. You can read about the event later on in this newsletter.

The 2015-2016 committee were more popular than in recent years, with requests to speak to Branch evening events (SWEE), the Programme Management and Portfolio conferences, as well as upcoming bookings at the Benefits Summit and EVA 21.

The team have definitely ‘put themselves out there’ this year, and I would like to unreservedly thank the whole team. In particular, those who are stepping down this year.

We are sad to see Chris Mills, and Gary Mitchell leave the team –in their years being involved they have both been invaluable to the SIG and brilliant advocates of everything we try to achieve. I wish them good luck in their future endeavours, and hope to be able to cajole them back at some point!

In the same breath, we have some new committee members – who you will meet later in this newsletter. Stewart Wragg, Sally Andrews and Jane Cosgrove have nominated themselves and bring with them PMO experience from new industries that will undoubtedly help the SIG to continue to move further towards our long term goals.

Exciting times lie ahead and we want you to be part of it! If you have any ideas on how we can improve, want to get involved, or have ideas for other events then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at For more information on the APM PMO SIG, please visit the APM website.

Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

2. Research

In the first quarter of 2016 the research team has been very busy…researching!
We are keen to provide you with the latest thinking in the field and are preparing some insightful material to be released later in the year. The value of PMOs, how to develop a business case for your PMO, or how to assess and progress its maturity are topics where you can expect to hear from us very soon.

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.

The problem with process: Why projects and PMOs are failing before they ever get off the ground
Laura Barnard
Is your PMO encountering resistance and not sufficient buy-in? Maybe that’s because you are putting your focus in the wrong place! It’s a well-known fact that PMOs all love their processes, but with this thought-provocative article, Laura stresses that relationships are more important than processes, so before you start thinking about implementing a new process, you need to get the trust from your stakeholders and understand what works and will have a real impact for the business.

PMO Flashmob's Benchmark Report for 2016 is out!

Lindsay Scott
The PMO Flashmob have pulled together the latest insights in the UK about the role of the PMO and the practitioners who work within them. Do you want to know what services do other PMOs provide, how they are structured, or how much a PMO professional makes nowadays? The 2016 Benchmark Report will do just that.

Is Your PMO a Trusted Business Partner?
Emma Arnaz-Pemberton
Thought leadership is something that the PMO SIG is very keen of as you will be able to see in a recent podcast where our SIG Chair participated. Emma shares her passion for high performing PMOs and discusses how your PMO can become a trusted business partner. Definitely, a podcast not to be missed!

Success Stories Shared : The PMO as knowledge broker
Louise Worsley
Knowledge sharing in projects is much more than documenting lessons learned. But what role can PMOs play in supporting knowledge sharing in their organisations? In this article, Louise mentions several mechanisms at the disposal of PMOs to turn them into effective knowledge brokers.

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.

For this edition, we highlight a recent report published by the Business Report, which poses a question that certainly keeps most PMO people awake at night: what is the key to success in project management?

A panel of experts discussed how to succeed in project management, and we were happy to see PMOs being referred as a key ingredient for project success!

Read the full report here and let us know what you think!

5. Book review

Starting this month, we will be offering you a monthly book review, which you can read in full on our blog.
With so many good books out there, and knowing that you are looking for the ideal book to take with you for a relaxed reading on the beach, we want to share with you what we’re reading and do it from a PMO perspective so that you can take good recommendations and relevant takeaways from a selection of books that will hold your attention from cover to cover.

In the premiere, we will be starring “Things your PMO is doing wrong”, written by Michael Hatfield and reviewed by Mike Belch. According to Mike, the fundamental premise of this book is that “many existing (best practice?) methods to deploying new capability are flawed and thus doomed to failure”. He also adds that “the book is disruptive, not least because it rubbishes many of the approaches that we are familiar with and may have used, or continue to use”. Ready to have your thinking challenged? Then read the full review here.

What next? We want to provide you with an opportunity to get to know your peers and get some wisdom out of them that you can apply in your own PMO. Activities are currently underway to bring you our new “PMO Wisdom” series and we couldn’t be more excited about it! On a monthly basis, we will be interviewing PMO professionals, who will tell us their stories, their views on the future of PMOs and the challenges they have faced. Stay tuned, you are not alone!

6. Events

Upcoming events and Dates for your diary

Shaping your Portfolio to realise Organisation Strategy - Design and prioritisation through to implementation and success, 12th May, London
The APM's Portfolio Management SIG annual conference in 2016 will look at how organisations shape their portfolio from a strategic perspective and use it to help deliver business objectives.

Integrated Assurance - how to achieve it in real organisations and SIG Annual General Meeting, 17th May, London
A topic very dear to any PMO – assurance. This one-day conference will focus on the ‘Guide to Integrated Assurance’, and a variety of speakers will present case studies based upon what they have done in practice and what the guide has meant for them.

Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) Webinar, 24th May, webinar
This webinar aims to explain the purpose of an Integrated Baseline Review (IBR), why you would want to conduct or request such a review, who is involved and an overview of the process.

Raising the standard of project management: the new APM Project Professional Qualification, 25th May, webinar
There’s a brand new APM qualification in town! This webinar will be providing an insight into where it fits in your personal development, what it includes and how it is assessed.

EVA21 - Bringing projects to life, 13th-21st June, London
In its 21st year earned value comes of age and you are all invited to celebrate with us. After an amazing event last year, this year expects speakers from the IPMA, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, Sad Business School as well as those engaged in the ISO EVM activity.

The APM Benefits Summit 2016, 23rd June, London
The APM Benefits Summit promises to be the must-attend conference in the UK for anyone with a genuine interest in understanding how to unlock the value of their projects. In its second year, the summit will have an inspiring line-up of speakers and the support from the Enabling Change, Programme Management, PMO and Value Management SIGs, all supporting the ‘Value for Money’ view on project success.

7. PMO SIG Out and About

APM Volunteers ForumMarch 2016, Cambridge
Simon George

A ‘newbie’ in the APM SIG world, Simon participated in his first Volunteers Forum and couldn’t recommend it more, having evangelized the different SIGs on the importance of PMOs. Among topics discussed, the delegates heard about the APM strategy for 2020 and beyond, and what each SIG is doing or would like to see. Meeting people from across the APM SIG bodies gave many opportunities for discussion on a variety of topics, including the chance to ‘espouse’ the PMO cause in supporting most of the activities that the other SIGs specialise in. As a true believer of the value of PMOs, Simon argued that without a good PMO as a basis a lot of the expertise other SIG practitioners bring could be wasted as somebody needs to ensure that their best practices are not only implemented but then tended and nurtured to realise the full benefits.

APM PresentsMarch 2016, Coventry
Simon George and Gary Mitchell

On 17th March 2016 the APM Presents event was held in the environs of Warwick University (Coventry), where 12 of the 13 APM special interest groups met and presented themselves to each other. With respect to the PMO SIG, some useful and enlightening PMO discussions took place over 3 one-hour sessions presented by Gary and Simon, with over 40 attendees from a wide range of industries, often representing their PMOs in a state of flux – either being proposed in their organisation, wanting to grow or in some cases in danger of being disbanded.

Interestingly, the day’s opening presentation mapped out a future where staff would have project management as one of many skills rather than as a specialism and would manage projects for part of their career and then move to other roles and move back again. This was indicative of the future world where change was business as usual and everyone would be able to project manage as part of their general day job. This has consequences for the future PMO which may need to expand from its traditional ‘delivery controls’ function to a community and knowledge building change function that most fully represents the business. We touched upon these aspects during the sessions and they provided some interesting debate which the SIG will look to follow up. 

Also what became clear as the sessions and discussion progressed was that Data Analytics were the way forward for most PMOs, moving away from a ‘generalist’ PMO Officer role towards the PMO Analyst role which would require more of, and a wider range of, technical skills including more knowledge of specialist functions. There will always be a place for the different types of PMO (or even PSO when they are first starting up) but perhaps the future is towards being a much more rounded team of ‘experts’ who can really ‘Add Value’ and help projects succeed. The saying goes that the best way to predict the future is to create it – let’s do it!

Brain Science MasterclassApril 2016, London
Simon George and Tony Burgess

Driven by popular interest from the PMO SIG Autumn Conference in October 2015, a fully booked event saw Carole Osterweil facilitate an informal workshop focusing on how people react to, handle and adapt to change. What was surprising was that most of the attendees had not been at the APM PMOSIG Conference – the power of word-of-mouth?

Given the ‘novice’ audience Carole initially outlined brain essentials and invisible dynamics, using human survival to articulate three parts of the brain - Thinking; Feeling; and Primitive. This included how humans typically react, the types of emotion and behaviours that are evident. The group then considered what behaviours were evident from recent personal work incidents and how it had impacted on delivery.

Carole then introduced the SCARF model (David Rock), which involves five domains of social experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. Following this, she explained why it is so difficult to change behaviours, using a practical example (and video) of riding a bike 'against the grain' or backwards steering (i.e. turning the handlebars left makes the wheel turn right and vice versa).

Finally, Carole introduced us to a tool that could be used to identify and address the people and organisation dynamics that can impact (delivery) outcomes. Developed with 14 organisations and currently in collaboration with the APM Enabling Change SIG, it seems like something to look out for as it develops and gains profile.

What next? It’s going to be a busy summer, folks! Planning is currently underway for our PMO Summer School, with a number of PMO 101 webinars that will surely grab your attention.  Keep your agenda free!

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.



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