March 2013 newsletter



Welcome to the latest edition of the APM PMOSIG Newsletter

In this months issue a note from the Chairman; the season of PMO surveys;details of the new Spring conference and a call out for a book reviewer.

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

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

Lindsay Scott

Stay connected with the PMO SIG

The latest from the PMO SIG

What a cold start to the year… it’s been freezing, but there are sunnier days on the way, and you can start to feel spring in the air.

This got me thinking about PMOs and sometimes when they start off, it can be very cold and all we often dream about is when we get to a position where the days are happy and sunny.

In February we had Lain Burgos-Loveace with Tips for Fine Tuning a PMO, with his key message about a PMO taking the role of increasing the organisations project and programme management maturity, without increasing any training budget.

We received really positive feedback from the event, and our thanks go out to Lain for taking time out to present at the North West’s branch meeting.

When I read the write up about the event, it sums up the main focus of the PMO. Just as the APM is championing the professionalism of project management, PMOs should be ensuring they develop themselves, to then improve how projects (and programmes) are delivered, ultimately improving outcomes and benefits…. and yes I’m including portfolios in this as well.

One of the major assets a PMO has to improve project and programme delivery and outcomes is the people within the PMO. Over the past years, the conferences have focused on many aspects of PMO, from Portfolio PMOs to 'meet the experts' etc, so it was about time we focused on the most important part of the PMO….. it’s people.

This year’s spring conference is about the PMO people. If you are not already registered, get yourself booked on the event below, it’s a great networking opportunity, and also an event which I’m sure you will go away thinking about how to get your PMO into a place whereby you are developing yourself and others around you.

Which leads me onto the AGM after the event. This years AGM will follow the April conference, and some of the existing committee members have decided not to re-stand for a committee position, which means there will be vacancies on the committee for anyone who wishes to put themselves forward to be elected.

You don’t have to turn up at the event to be elected (although it would be great to meet up if you can make it). So, if any of you fancy dedicating a couple of hours a month to get involved in the committee, please fill in the nomination form; we are always on the look out for new people to get involved.

Our activities vary from organising PMO events, writing articles, and generally getting involved with the APM championing the Professionalism of PMOs and project management.

If anyone has any specific questions around involvement, please feel free to get in touch with any of the committee members on the APM website.

Here’s to sunnier days.




Ralf Finchett Jnr

Chairman of the PMO SIG




To join the PMOSIG committee you need to complete your nomination form by the 18th April – join us

Spring conference


Take a day out to talk PMO with peers from a wider variety of organisations from across the UK. This Spring we’re tackling the very real issue of people – how do we, as PMO professionals, tackle the tricky subject of “softer skills”?

We decided it was time to move away from techniques and processes for one conference and look into the assets that really make the PMO successful. It’s one of those areas that is often talked about by the programme and project management community – but for the PMO there’s been a real lack of focus

So if you fancy a bit of a brain recharge and an opportunity to network with others within your community, join us in the West Midlands this April.

The PMO revisited

Arras People, a project management recruitment organisation, have launched a new survey which gives some insights into PMOs in the UK today. With 66% of respondents (they polled over 1500 practitioners) either being directly part of the PMO or their organisation having a PMO, it’s an opportunity to understand how things are shaping up in the UK.

The report shows that the majority of PMOs in the UK today provide best practice , standards, governance – the hallmarks of a Centre of Excellence (26%) With 23% providing value add services like reporting and planning to Programme and Project Managers. It seems the PMO functions are moving away from providing admin support , with just 8% reporting that this is what their PMO (Support Office) provides.

At previous conferences we’ve often talked, debated and even argued about the cause of PMO failure. The most frequently cited reason was around the level of support the PMO concept has before it even becomes a reality. Without the support across the senior management levels, PMOs can flounder.

The report also questions those practitioners that don’t have a PMO within their organisation. Aside from the organisations that were too small (interestingly PMOs are more frequently seen in organisations with >200 employees) or the number of projects in delivery was small, the biggest reason was “no senior management buy-in” at 36%

It’s a small section within the main report which also includes some statistics around pay levels for PMO Managers. It’s also available free from the website.

Global survey - state of the PMO

ESI International have just opened up their survey – the State of the PMO. Take part today

Key findings last year included:

• Active learning sustainment and business view: PMOs that actively engage in learning transfer are more business-minded, considered more mature, have a stronger customer focus and are more valued than those that don’t.
• Standard effectiveness measurements: PMOs still rely heavily on standard definitions of success such as on time, to-budget project delivery to measure their worth.
• The case of the missing ROI: ROI is being used less this year to measure training impact.
• More maturity: Slightly more PMOs are operating at the strategic level this year.
• Collaboration software: Three out of five PMOs are actively engaged in selecting collaboration software. Most regions have a high adoption rate, with the exception of parts of Asia.
• Senior management’s watchful eye: Executive scrutiny continues to plague many PMOs.
• Lagging training impact measurement: Even fewer PMOs are measuring the actual impact of their training compared to 2011.

PMO SIG roundup

We’re aiming to put on at least four local events this year – all we need to make it happen near you is a suitable venue. Does your organisation have a meeting room we could use for free? Again contact us if you think you can help

We will be at the APM Scottish conference on the 17th April – if any of you are planning on attending either of these events please come and say hello

We’ve been busy with the Spring conference so far this year but have local events in the pipeline – more details soon

We’ve also been offered space again in Manchester at the Manchester Met University – the only trouble is – what do you want us to put on? Let us know what kind of evening event would make you come – even if you’re dog tired from a full day at work!

Book reviewers

We’re looking for one reviewer this month – Agile Project Management for Government. It’s an American book and we’re interested in what your thoughts are about how well it translate to the market here

Contact us if you’re interested and will be able to write a review by the end of April.

Dates for the diary

Spring conference now confirmed Thursday 25th April 2013 Solihull

PMO Curator

Each month we like to pick out a selection of PMO related news from other sources and neatly package them so they are easy to locate. Take a look at this month’s selection by clicking HERE

This month there is – Five ways gen Y will alter project management; The project brief; Are your project managers becoming project management admins?;. It's time to retire 'crap circles'; Communication fact sheets and The dirty little secret of project management.

Comments and feedback

The PMO SIG would appreciate any comments or feedback you have on our newsletter – let us know whether it was useful, and what you’d like to see in future editions. Email the newsletter editor.



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