When you start a new project management office (PMO) role, knowing how to handle the first 100 days will set you up for success.

The idea of the first 100 days in a role goes back to the success of President Roosevelt in the USA and his success in passing legislation. Whilst your PMO may not be quite as important, getting a running start in your new role will be of value.

What can you do in those first 100 days to give yourself the best chance of succeeding? Here, we’re going to provide an overview of:

  • How to make a good impression
  • An outline of how to progress through your first 100 days at a PMO
  • Practical ideas for how to create wins in your new PMO role

To help you prepare to enter a new workplace with confidence.

How do I make a good impression in a PMO?

To make a good impression in your new PMO role, you need to be proactive and make strong connections quickly. Here are our tips for how to generally bring positive attention to yourself:

  • Build an understanding of the office, company, and culture
  • Ask questions of people at all levels to get a deeper understanding
  • Take feedback and test it with other departments
  • Take actions that will have measurable impacts

We have more detail about how to work on these elements in another article. Here, we’re going to look at practical ways to bring these ideas to life.

What does a plan for the first 100 day in a PMO look like?

There are four stages that you need to go through when you start out taking bold action in a PMO. They are reasonably standard for any project, and you’ll already be well-versed in how to move through the stages of a project.

What do you need to do in those first 100 days of a PMO job? Broadly, you need to:

  • Define and manage the expectations of the PMO
  • Build acceptance of the PMO across the organisation
  • Earn credibility for your work and your office
  • Build relationships across different levels of the business

Whilst every PMO and company will be different, we’ve got an example of how you can build each of these into your first 100 days.

1.       Audit processes

This might feel like a much longer-term action, but you can get a good definition of the processes in your PMO very quickly. This can then guide your work after those first 100 days once you know what needs working on.

You need to find any duplications or contradictions that can be made more efficient and even consider whether the current framework is fit for purpose – maybe you need to move from Waterfall to Agile, for example.

2.       Assess training needs

Do the people in your PMO require certification or recertification for their professional skills? What does the current internal training system look like?

By starting to implement strong professional development in a PMO, you can professionalise it and build acceptance in the expertise you and your new team have.

3.       Look at the project pipeline

There will be a lot of legacy projects and ones that have been planned and are waiting to kick off. Going through each of the planned projects to ensure they align with the business and PMO strategy will help you lend you and the PMO credibility.

You’re looking at the long-term picture and working towards to strategic goals of the business and aiming to get things right before the projects start.

4.       Communications refresh

It’s one thing having a message and the intention to build relationships, but you need the tools to be able to do that. Learn which tools your PMO and projects currently use and understand how people currently get their information and news.

Making sure you can speak to the right people in the right way will get your relationship-building off to a great start.

The take-home

Knowing how to handle the first 100 days in your PMO will stand you in good stead for the future of your role. These days are critical for setting the tone both in terms of how people perceive you as a person and in setting out how the office is going to function in the long term.

By looking at everything you have in place, you will be able to build a plan for the future and take your team, your project manager, and the rest of the business along with you.