January 16, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Project Management: How a PMO Can Make a Difference

PMORecently I attended a Virtual Conference hosted by the International Institute of Learning (IIL). A presentation by James C. Brown about how a PMO can make a difference was very insightful. Today I want to share some of what I have learned from him about Project Offices and the value that they bring.

PMO Perceptions

Often there are many perceptions about Project Management Offices (PMO’s) in organisations. They are considered to be ‘Report Generators’, ‘Process Creators’, ‘Infastructure builders – building and maintaining costing, time-keeping and scheduling tools etc’, ‘Dashboard/Scorecard experts’, ‘Organisational home of Project/Program managers’, ‘process police’ and so on.

In reality a PMO is and should be much more than any of the above. Let’s take a closer look at what the goal of the PMO should be.

Goal of a PMO

According to James Brown and the research that he has done, the goal of a PMO is the following:

“The right information at the right time in the right hands.”

For a PMO the commodity is information. How a PMO manages and communicates that information to others so that they know where it is, have it at the right time, and it’s pertinent to them to use it, interact with it, and make decisions with it, is the key to success.

When you want your PMO to deliver real value, you need to make Portfolio Management your goal. This would include:

  • Strategy development
  • Revenue planning and budget development
  • Functional resource management
  • Project execution

And how all of the above relate to one another.

James Brown states that for a PMO to be successful, the PMO needs to make life easier for the stakeholders by providing data that they need for decision making and making visible what projects have done for the organisation at any given time.

Types of PMO’s

Traditionally there are 3 types of PMO’s:

  1. Auditing – responsible for auditing methodologies and compliance with quality and standards.
  2. Enabling – to improve the maturity and effectiveness of project leaders
  3. Executing – actively engaged in implementations, responsible for facilitating and doing project work.

The ultimate vision, according to Brown, is to be a bit of all these types, but being flexible depending on the needs of the organisation.  For a PMO to survive it should become agile, which means it must learn to adapt and overcome challenges.

Some critical success factors for successful PMO’s are:

  • To support the vision of the Leadership team (innovation, cost savings, growth etc)
  • Focus on value delivered from a stakeholders point of view
  • Support decision management with data that matters to stakeholders
  • To improve forecast capabilities
  • To provide near real-time data that is always accessable

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Please share in the comments section if your organisation has a PMO and what your perception is of the value that your PMO delivers.

Leading a PMO to Deliver Better Projects

Are you a project manager, a Project Management Office (PMO) leader or maybe an executive who is looking to establish a PMO in your business?

Do you want to know how to find the right balance between projects and business demands?

Leading successful PMO's If you look for ways to benefit from a PMO within your organization or you want to know how to lead a successful PMO to deliver better projects, then you would love the new book from Peter Taylor:

Leading Successful PMO’s

Peter Taylor is the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ and ‘The Project from Hell’.  He has recently launched his new book ‘Leading Successful PMO’s’.

Leading Successful PMO’s is a book to guide all would-be and current PMO leaders.  This is a book for all project based organizations and for all project managers who contribute to and benefit from a PMO (Project Management Office) within their organization.

It is also a book about successfully leading a PMO to deliver better projects, better business to all the customers of those projects and to best serve the contributing project managers from both a professional and a personal perspective.

This is not a book about managing PMO’s as the author does not believe that they are such a stable business unit at this point in time, but rather a book about leading PMO’s which is a much more complex challenge, especially with the association of PMO activity with business strategy.

This book brings together the experience and views of PMO leaders from around the world and the project managers that work within the PMO’s, as well as those who are now seeking leaders for their PMO’s.

Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor

In support of his new book, Peter Taylor (together with some great partners) has launched the PMO Leader of the Year Award, to celebrate the very best of PMO leaders around the world.

This award will be presented to the PMO Leader, nominated by their PMO team, who shows the most excellent leadership and understanding of what a PMO can deliver to a business.

A panel of independent judges will review all submissions to consider how each nominee has led their PMO over at least the last 12 months and how they plan to grow the PMO under their stewardship in the coming months.

The Judges will look as the key PMO leadership skills in the areas of:

  • Flexibility
  • Resilience
  • Setting example
  • Professionalism
  • Support

Timescales: All entries should be received by Gower by 31st March 2012. The shortlist for the ‘PMO Leader of the Year (2012)’ will be announced on 31st May 2012. The winner of ‘PMO Leader of the Year (2012)’ will be announced on 29th June 2012.

Prizes: The winner will receive:

  •  A library of Gower project and programme management books with a list price of over £600.00
  • A written award from the judges underlining the reasons for the award
  • A ‘PMO Leader of the Year 2012’ electronic icon to use on any of the winners electronic profiles, web pages and so on
  • An interview with Mark Perry on The PMO Podcast
  • Publication of the winning submission through the website: http://www.gowerpublishing.com/projectmanagement

Click here to download a pdf document containing all information regarding the Criteria of PMO Leader of the Year Award.

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