A fresh start in a project management office (PMO) is a perfect opportunity to stamp the mark of your leadership on the business area. The first 100 days in your new PMO role needs you to build acceptance of your PMO.

There can sometimes be negative ideas of PMOs, with many closing within the first couple of years of operations. They also have a reputation of being a layer of bureaucracy in a business. However, you can combat this by building acceptance through the professionalisation of your PMO.

To help you understand how this can be achieved in your first 100 days, we’re going to look at:

  • Why you should professionalise your PMO
  • The steps you can take to professionalise and build acceptance of your PMO
  • How you can work on internal processes to improve PMO training

Why do I need to professionalise my new PMO?

Ensuring your PMO is viewed as professional and effective at its role will build acceptance for it across the business.

Whether your PMO is long established and you’re stepping into the role, or you’re setting up a PMO from scratch, you need to ensure you get buy-in from across the business.

This will ensure that you get the support you need from different areas. You will also stamp your mark on the role, proving that you want the office you’re leading to be effective and efficient.

How do I professionalise and build acceptance for my PMO?

The first 100 days of your tenure in a PMO will be a flurry of activity, and you should use this time to understand the skills you’ve got on hand.

Confirm the current skills and qualifications of your team, from assistants to business analysts and project managers. Understand what project management and other certifications they have and which frameworks they’re familiar with.

This should be a relatively easy step; ask everyone under your remit to complete a questionnaire to confirm their skills and competencies.

Concurrently, you can assess the framework that you work under. If the office already use a particularly training process, is it fit for purpose? If you’ve not bought into a training framework, would this improve productivity?

Some of the training frameworks that you can consider working with include:

  • PMI, or Project Management Institute certifications such as PMP and PfMP
  • PRINCE2, a framework from the UK government designed for large projects
  • SAFe, or the Scaled Agile Framework is a set of principles for Agile project and PMOs
  • ITIL is used mainly for software and IT-focussed PMOs

If you have some, or even all, team members already certified in any of these, be sure to record when recertification is needed. If you’re not certified in the same programs, this should be a priority outside of your first 100 days.

Can I use internal training to improve the acceptance of my PMO?

As well as using globally recognised training and certification processes, you should check what your internal training and skills development looks like.

Understand how internal training is currently delivered and assess whether it can be improved. Digitising your training to a learning management system (LMS) can be a good long-term investment – you won’t achieve this in the first 100 days, but getting it on the agenda is useful.

Look at the professional and career development opportunities that are available to your PMO team. By ensuring their skills are up-to-date, you can be sure that the suggestions, improvements, and changes that come from your office will be respected.

The take-home

Depending on the PMO you’re walking into, there may be a lack of acceptance of the work the office does. This is something that you can work on quickly and earn the respect of the rest of the business and c-suite.

By understanding what your training and certification needs are and planning how to bring everyone you work with up to the same level, you will send out the message that your PMO is skilled and competent.

As a bonus, you will also build acceptance for your leadership within the office and project teams. By working to offer more or better career development, you will demonstrate your commitment to the people you’re leading.