9 September 2018

The Real “P” in PMO

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Originally posted as Friday Insight in the Major Projects Knowledge Hub

This week’s shared insight is from a personal perspective, and something I hope will help you as you finish your working week and start looking forward to the next.

As an independent PMO Professional, I move between organisations within different industry sectors on a regular basis. What I find fascinating about this is how differently PMO is perceived across each of these sectors and organisations. There is certainly no “one size fits all” definition across each of these sectors or organisations, and this goes way beyond the P in PMO.

There are a multitude of commonly used definitions and terminology within project management; “speaking a common language” is frequently used as one of the benefits of formal training. But what about expectations? A role within a Portfolio Management Office at one organisation within a particular industry sector is quite different to a role at another, similarly sized organisation within a different sector.

A great deal of that difference is driven by the expectations of the project delivery professionals, operational functions and leadership teams within those settings. It is also driven by their previous experiences of PMO. Those unconscious biases and unspoken expectations are one of the key challenges that PMO professionals have to navigate and reconcile alongside their own views of what PMO is.

So my shared insight this week is to focus on the People; to take the time to actively listen and observe the environment, to flex your approach and really understand what those people need and expect from their PMO. To interact with the humans you find yourself alongside, to communicate openly and to build trust. Work in partnership with your PMO to get the value you both need from the relationship.