The art and science of starting, manning and running PMOs is a relatively recent phenomenon. And just like any other ‘new’ discipline, there are two simultaneous well-springs developing: one is the rush of towards PMO Management by individuals, hiring experts and headhunters who have Project Management skills or know others who do. The other is a steady maturation of the typically desirable profile of individuals who have grown through the ranks of Project Management.
Regardless of the origin of one’s claim to PMO Management skills, all concerned should be well aware that PMO Management requires job skills which are not all readily attained from traditional project management. There are three main factors influencing how much of one’s project management experience can be transported to PMO management:
(a) the level of project management that the subject was involved in – in their organization (junior versus senior/wider role)
(b) the level of complexity that the projects themselves – usually one’s ability to understand, utilize and refine oversight and management of process areas, knowledge areas and phases depends on how ‘quick and dirty’ one’s project experience has been
(c) the project management maturity of the company one has worked in – is there a good understanding of the role of checklists, templates, documented processes, tollgates etc.
Experience needs to be complemented by some degree of formal introduction to PMO Management which, while it deals with the traditional knowledge areas, it does so on a wider scope, in-between projects and with much sharper focus/alignment to business results.
The level of understanding or education needed depends as much on the background of the person’s experience as it does on the mandates of the PMO – whether it is an Enterprise Level PMO or pertaining or one department or Business Unit, whether it is doing Program Management, Portfolio Management or simply more streamlined Project Management.
The following is a ready cheat-sheet of the essential role difference that headhunters, hiring companies and individuals seeking to make the shift can refer to:
Project Level: Responsible
Program Level: Responsible, Consultattive, Informational
Business case documentation
Responsible, Consultative, Informational
At project level after kick-off and during monitoring & control
At program level prior to inception and updated based on environmental changes
External Dependency Management
Lessons Learned & Best Practices
Human Resource Management