This post spends some time considering the role of the PMO manager.

If an organisation is serious about improving the project delivery capability through a PMO, it is very important that the right candidate is appointed to the role.

Unfortunately, as many organisations view the PMO as an administrative centre, they automatically assume that it does not need experienced resources with solid project management skills.  This often leads to a PMO being staffed and led by junior resources with no or very little experience.

This causes a fundamental issue – lack of credibility to the project community.  It will be very difficult for a PMO to implement tools, standards and try to engage and help the project teams, if the project teams know they have no experience.  There will soon be discussions with stakeholders that the PMO is trying to implement bureaucratic processes that add no value and take time away from real delivery.  While this is not true, the PMO will find itself spending a lot of valuable time trying to correct this perception

If an organisation is serious about project delivery they need to:

  • Recognise the importance of the PMO
  • Appoint experienced professionals
  • Ensure that there is a clear mandate and sponsorship

Doing this opens the way to appointing a suitable PMO manager.

PMO Manager role and responsibilities

While this will vary by organisation and type of PMO, it can include:

  • Define and build PMO
  • Appoint / recruit PMO resources based on PMO model
  • Define organisational model
  • Provide reporting to senior management and stakeholders
  • Ensure alignment to strategy
  • Create working relationships with project managers and other PMO’s
  • Facilitate governance process
  • Overall risk management to identify themes
  • Facilitate dependency management across the projects and programmes
  • Facilitate change control process
  • Track deliverables and benefit realisation
  • Mentor project managers
  • Responsible for tools, standards and methodology i.e. project management templates
  • May line manage project managers for a pro-active / managerial PMO

PMO Manager skills and experience

  • Typically a solid project / programme manager
  • Real experience of project delivery
  • Commercial outlook
  • Pragmatic
  • Trustworthy / honest
  • Very good stakeholder skills
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Strong leadership

Choosing the right person to lead a PMO can make a dramatic difference to the value that the PMO delivers.  You may be interested in viewing the article The real roles across a project or programme.