Welcome to the latest edition of the APM PMO SIG Newsletter

In this month's issue you can find out about our upcoming annual conference, a round-up of what the PMO SIG has been up to including introductions from our new committee members and the latest news from around the industry.

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

A word from the PMO SIG Chair

This is our first newsletter since the new committee was elected so my first job as Chair of the new and enhanced PMO SIG is to welcome all the new members to the team (Barrie Andrew, Liliana Cadau, Simon George, Mike Belch, Tony Burgess, and Marisa Silva), and thank the existing team (Chris Mills, Eileen J Roden, and Gary Mitchell) for staying with us!

We have taken the opportunity of having a new, dynamic team to review the structure of the PMO SIG and how we work together. We have implemented three key work streams which are underpinned by Knowledge Management at each stage. Each work stream has a lead who is an existing member of the team so that existing activities can continue. You can get an idea of what activities sit where in the diagram below:

This year is the PMO SIG's 15th Birthday; its inception was back in 2000, the SIG joined APM in 2010 and now we have plans to celebrate! Our autumn conference, Socialising the PMO: the PMO as a builder of P3M communities is now available for bookings. The theme of the conference relates to the growing trend of working in a less formal way, understanding what challenges this brings and how PMOs can balance this new trend with the key role of bringing governance and discipline into an organisation. On the day of the conference we will be hosting a birthday drinks reception so why not come along and celebrate with us?

The APM Competence Framework is now in the midst of its launch and the PMO SIG is involved in the launch – for the first time PMO roles exist and are recognised as having a ‘career path’. We will explore what this means for the industry at the conference, but below you can read some more about the event(s) that the committee will be involved with so you can come along and support this step forward for PMOs everywhere.

Lastly, I am proud to say that our relationship with IPMA continues to blossom. One of our volunteers will be representing the PMO SIG at the IPMA PMO Conference in Nuremberg, Germany. We plan to work together to develop an event in 2016 to bring worldwide PMO SIGs and their members together, so keep your eyes peeled for information.

Emma Arnaz-Pemberton


APM Competence Framework refresh

PMO SIG Supporting the Launch

Over the last year we have been talking about the launch of the PMO roles as part of the refreshed APM Competence Framework. I am sure that you have seen the launch taking place across the APM channels (website, youtube) and have taken a good look at the public information available.

The PMO SIG will be running a webinar in conjunction with the Competence Framework team to talk specifically about some of the PMO roles, the competencies, and how they and the scoring relate to real life PMO people.

Our Research work stream is working on the slide deck right now and we will let all our members know when the webinar is ready for booking once a date is confirmed.

What next? The same team will continue on the logical path and look to understand what the next steps for the industry may be (maturity models and career planning, potential for qualifications, etc). If you are interested to get involved as a volunteer then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us as there will likely be some working groups getting together following on from some of the work that will be started at our conference in the autumn.

If you want more information now, take a look at this video that the APM have released on their youtube channel.

Research Opportunities
Research to Improve Project Productivity by Addressing the People Issues that Undermine Project Success

Research lead Carole Osterweil of the Enabling Change SIG says: “Project professionals are looking for tools to help them identify and address the people and organisation dynamics that undermine project delivery. Currently the development of tools to meet this challenge lags far behind the tools for managing finance, progress and risk. This research looks to address the gap. We believe it will be of benefit to all APM members, regardless of sector or organisation.”

Parag Gogate adds “In our search for tools to fill this gap, the SIG has been impressed by Assentire’s Innovation Audit. Its creator, Rod Willis has agreed to collaborate with the SIG to tailor the tool to the needs of the APM membership. We see this as a unique opportunity to take the APM closer to achieving its 2020 Vision”

Get Involved

We are looking for 15 organisations to partner with us in developing the tool over the summer. Participating in the research will give you access to leading edge thinking and insight into the project management culture in your organisation. What's more, in return for contributing to the research you will get a report on the state of play at your organisation. Please let us know by 30th August.

Please contact us at carole@omqconsulting.co.uk or find out more at https://www.apm.org.uk/enabling-change


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.

What has the PMO ever done for us?
Transparent Choice
According to recent research by ESI, 72% of PMOs are being called into question, mostly by senior management. Putting the most negative spin on this, it means that nearly ¾ of PMOs are simply not seen to be delivering the goods…Ouch!

Beyond The Lazy Project Manager
We sat down with Peter Taylor to talk about his latest book on project health, and to learn some of his useful tips for new project managers and senior project leaders.

Why an Organization Needs to Setup Project Management Office
Samer Abdel Maksoud
Project management (PM) is not a new technology or philosophy. PM is as old as the pyramids. The pharaohs were building the magnificent pyramids in ancient Egypt using processes that remain mysterious today.

The Perils of Best Practice PPM: Should you even try?
Claudia Menzies
PPM as a desired and then expected core organisational capability has been avidly pursued in the corporate world for about 15 years. Unfortunately, many of the implementations have been less than stellar.

So why has there been so much confusion around the "PMO"?
Quincy Jordan
I would like to present a different perspective. The confusion around the PMO comes down to lack of understanding of the original intent of the PMO strategy

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 month we are particularly struck with the Raconteur's Project Management Report from the Sunday Times (2nd August 2015). The report can be downloaded from the APM site here.

We are pleased to see the PMO featured as Chris notes “As well as an article on the APM Competence Framework refresh, it really bigs up PMOs by identifying PMO as a global trend crucial to project delivery”

Meet our new committee members

Joining Chris & Eileen in the Research Team

Simon George
I am currently a senior PMO manager in Transport for London (corporate IT) managing a team of 15 covering IT Governance, Project and Programme assurance, Risk, Change Control, Audit, Knowledge Systems, PPM tools and software development assurance.

I have set up and run or been a lead in various PMOs (public and private sector) since the early 1990’s. In what little personal time I have I sing with various groups, some semi-professionally, having a preference for any music before 1700.

Mike Belch
The research team are working on publicising the PMO-specific roles in the new APM Competence Framework. This supports my personal agenda, shared by many of my PMO SIG colleagues, which seeks to promote the work of and support the professional development and accreditation of PMO people.

I have always been a problem solver, so what excites me about PMOs is the opportunity to diagnose and recover programmes and projects that are in trouble, and to show people better ways of working.

Joining Gary in the Marketing Team:

Marisa Silva
I'm in the Marketing team and working on a marketing plan, newsletters, and anything that can be helpful to spread the word on how cool PMOs are.

I joined the PMOSIG because I want to be an active part of one of the groups shaping the profession of PMOs worldwide, making PMOs critical to business, staying ahead of my game by identifying the latest PMO trend, and helping, sharing and learning from PMO colleagues, combining the theory with the practice.

Barrie Andrew
I'm on holiday at the moment! But will be working with Marisa and Gary on spreading the word on the role of the PMO in today’s P3M working environment.

I am Head of the Project Management Office (PMO) at Thales, responsible for leading the PMO, Project Planning and Controls, and Business Improvement teams.

Joining Emma in the Events Team:

Lilian Cadau
I am working with Emma and Tony on organising the autumn conference in October

I’ve been working in running and setting up PMOs for the past 5 years and I’m passionate about raising the profile of PMO as change enablers and key element of the organisations governance structures.

Tony Burgess
I am supporting the work in organising our autumn conference which is looking like it is going to be a great one!

I am currently Head of Managed Services (Outsourced PMO, Programme Advisory, Information Assurance, and Requisition Services) for one of our clients. This involves leading 200 people in PMO and PMO related roles. My previous experience includes strategic-level delivery, business cases, programme definition and portfolio management.

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 the committee today.

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.


Socialising the PMO: The PMO as a Builder of P3M Communities
Date Thursday 22nd October 2015

9:00am Registration, networking & refreshments
9:30am Speaker Presentations

1:30pm Workshops & Open House
5.15pm PMO SIG birthday drinks reception
7:00pm Close

Venue Holborn Bars, 138-142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2NQ


Early bird rate up to and including 8th September

APM members:
Employees of APM Corporate Members:
Non members:


The APM PMO SIG autumn conference is the perfect opportunity for you to celebrate our 15th birthday with us! Below you will find new information regarding the day, it content, and our panel of speakers.

Throughout the day, we will reflect on the evolution of the PMO, debating and defining the role of the PMO in line with today’s emerging requirement to work in a more 'social' and less bureaucratic way; whilst acknowledging the elevation of PMO into the APM Competence Framework and what this means for the industry.

We will investigate the role of the PMO using methods and tactics such as social media, to engage with, build, enable, and encourage communities of practice within an organisation’s wider P3 community; whilst maintaining its key role as a governance and assurance function.

As always, we hope that delegates will be inspired and empowered to share their own experiences, including discussing some of the challenges that this particular trend brings along with it. For this, a number of workshops will be taking place in the afternoon – delegates will be able to select which ones to attend during registration; that will allow them to follow-on from the speakers in the morning and focus more directly on key aspects of the topic. There will also be an opportunity to meet and discuss the topics of the day with partners and speakers.

Some of our speakers and partners for the day include:

Jonathan Norman is Publisher at Gower Publishing where he is responsible; amongst other things, for working with over 200 authors to develop the changing programme of over 120 books on projects, programmes and portfolios. During his 25 years at Gower, he has developed books, metrics and questionnaires as well as training resource products including games, activities and videos. He is currently leading the development of GpmFirst a subscription-based community of practice that is designed to facilitate learning, sharing and collaboration in the context of projects, programmes and their management.

Jonnie Jensen is a digital coach, social strategist and founder of social business agency Live And Social. His work has involved the internet, mobile and all things digital since 1999. This work helped him recognise that social media was going to transform the way we communicate and operate in business, as well as our personal lives. Since 2007 Jonnie has been consulting and training companies and individuals in the use of social media. Live And Social provides content marketing, social media and lead generation services to large B2b companies. His breadth of experience gives him a great deal of relatedness to businesses of all sizes and sectors. Jonnie prides himself on helping businesses understand and utilise social media across their entire business, from boardroom to reception. A husband, father and Christian, Jonnie enjoys the mountains, the beach, live music and a beer with friends.

Wellingtone Project Management will be joining us and providing an insight into how technology enables social working. They are a specialist project management company based in Windsor, Berkshire who work with clients across the UK and internationally. Their goal is to work as a partner with their clients to maximise the likelihood of project, programme, and portfolio success. You can learn more about Wellingtone here.

All delegates will be invited to join the current committee (and partners from the day) in a birthday drinks reception which will follow directly after the conference to celebrate 15 years of the APM PMO SIG. Ending the day in a very social way!

The Autumn PMO SIG Conference is targeted to the following Body of Knowledge references from a CPD perspective;
Stakeholder management, Communication, Governance, Ethics, and Frameworks.
It is suitable for:

  • Individuals who work within an established or a newly implemented PMO who would like to move towards a more collaborative way of working
  • PMO managers who want to be inspired by their peers and thought leaders, to drive improvements in the value of their PMO
  • PMO users (senior managers or project and programme managers) who wish to influence the structure and services of the PMO within their organisation
book now

Still not sure? Check out updates with more information in the coming weeks or review our previous conference and presentation slides can be viewed here.

Upcoming events and Dates for your diary
PMO SIG Competence Framework Webinar

Cameroon biogas plants: project governance across continents
1st September, Aberdeen
The Aberdeen committee invite local members and guests to a presentation by John Pepper about his experiences raising money for and building a biogas plant in Belo, which is in Cameroon's north west highlands.

Scottish Conference 2015: Delivering the dream - leading the way to project success
10th September, Edinburgh
"Delivering the dream" will bring together expert speakers plus project and business leaders to examine the importance of leadership in ensuring successful outcomes for projects.

Volunteers Forum
18th-20th September, Bristol
This regular weekend conference provides the opportunity for APM’s volunteers to catch up with each other, share ideas, hear about what’s happening at Ibis House and of course report back to your committee with the latest.
If you are interested in attending to represent the PMO committee please contact the Chair.

Achieving change successfully: Why good governance matters
1st October, London
The conference will explore both organisational governance of project management, and governance of major projects.

Project delivery - more for less - no pressure then?

5th October, Reading
Project managers and change managers in all industries are being asked to deliver more for less. The mantra may be admirable, but the unintended consequences destroy both organisational capability and individual motivation. Is this the only way?
APM Presents 15th October, London

APM Project Management Awards
2nd November 2015, London
The APM Project Management Awards 2015 sponsored by T-Systems recognise what people can achieve through project management and have been celebrating excellence in the profession for over 20 years.
People SIG Evening Event 10th November, Southampton

PMO SIG Out and About
PMO Flashmob, London
Simon George

As I arrived at the PMO Flashmob the welcome and introduction reminded delegates that this was an informal get-together – however we had a theme and as we were on the ‘dreamboat’ we were asked to state our dreams, PMO or not, and use these to introduce ourselves to others we didn’t know.

This worked well for the first hour and I met and discussed my dream with others and vice-versa. I was quite surprised to hear that a lot of people’s dreams (especially among the contract community) were anything other than PMO based, perhaps the PMO interest was just for the money to achieve the dream? On the other hand permanent staff with some ‘skin in the game’ had more dreams about PMO excellence, careers, competencies, etc.

My dream was: Make the PMO a career equivalent in status to the rest of the PPM job family in order to be able to recruit and retain excellent staff respected for their skills and knowledge – and then retire to do more music (singing)!!!

A thoroughly excellent get-together, despite the swaying – which made us feel drunk even if we weren’t drinking! I would recommend these sorts of informal get-togethers for PMO ‘oldies’ and ‘newbies’ as a lot can be learnt by all.

Visualising the Relationship Between Projects and Benefits
Chris Mills

On 23rd June Emma Arnaz-Pemberton, Gary Mitchell and Chris Mills attended an event entitled ‘Benefit mapping – defining the relationship between projects and outcomes’, held in Milton Keynes and organised by the APM Midlands region. Matt Williams, Managing Director of Connexion Systems, had travelled to the UK from Australia for a week of APM events on the subject of benefits management.

The event was split into two parts, the first was a briefing from Matt, and then after tea and cake (and the PMO SIG AGM) it took the form of a workshop.
Matt started by discussing the typical reasons why projects and programmes fail and the necessity to link change initiatives to strategic objectives. He presented some interesting statistics such as ‘organisations that focus on strategic alignment, deliver 50% more successful projects’. Strategic alignment is achieved through a bottom up and top down approach.

After the break we split into groups to define and agree a benefits map for an organisational change showing the relationships between outputs, business changes, outcomes, benefits and objectives.
The mapping workshop was very interesting because it demonstrated the need to brainstorm and discuss with relevant stakeholders. There was also a tendency for some to work from outputs towards the strategic objectives on the right-hand side, whereas others preferred to work back from strategic objectives to the outputs on the left-hand side. Matt described the MSP approach to benefits mapping but also mentioned some other techniques that I had not heard of such as The Results ChainTM, Benefits Dependency Network and the Investment Logic Map. He also presented a number of techniques for wording benefits including MEDIC (Maintain, Eliminate, Decrease, Increase and Create).

At the end of the workshop, each group presented their results and there was some good discussion about what went well and what didn’t. The key message was that this is not an easy task and is often an iterative process!

Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton

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