Taking on a new PMO role

Taking on a new PMO roleThe last post, PMO Handover Plan, covered the importance and key elements of transferring the running of the PMO when you are in the process of moving to a new role.  Therefore, it is logical to cover the steps to take when you take-on a new PMO role.

Overview of PMO

Make sure you have a good understanding of the objectives and scope of the PMO.  This will include:

  • Number and types of projects
  • PMO maturity
  • PMO type (admin, managerial, hybrid)
  • Current resources / open vacancies
  • Services being provided
  • Challenges / weaknesses

The aim is to gather a good understanding of the current state and an idea on areas of concern, gaps in service, etc.

Understand role

It is very important to understand the role.  This is important as you need to ensure that what is being asked is achievable, that you have the appropriate skills and that you can be successful.

Ideally there will be a job description.  If there is not, build your understanding and then write one so that your role is clear to both you and, more importantly, your manager.  This is crucial for demonstrating that you have achieved at the end of the year.

Meet your manager

This is closely linked to understanding the role.  Meet with your manager and find out what they require from the PMO, their concerns and expectations for you fulfilling the role objectives.  It is good to use the job description for this conversation.

Make sure that the expectations are realistic.  If not, work with the manager to ensure they are realistic.

Meet the current role holder

If this is possible, always try to spend time with the current role holder.  They will be best placed to provide you with the real insights to what has been achieved, where there are problems and the usual nuances of the organisation and people.

This step should give the real insight to the role and to work out how difficult it may be.

Meet PMO team members

Arrange meetings with the current PMO team members.  This will allow you to understand their roles and gain their input on what is and is not going well.  This can be very revealing compared to the messages from sponsor and PMO manager.

Review documentation

Review available documentation such as:

  • PMO vision and mission statements
  • PMO charter
  • Example reports

This will provide an understanding of the objectives of the PMO and the quality of the deliverables.

Meet stakeholders

Spend time speaking to stakeholders – people who consume the services from the PMO.  Ask them there thoughts on the service – what is working and where there are issues.  Gain an understanding of what they require from the PMO.

These meetings will also reveal who is supportive of the PMO.

In summary

Before taking on a role in a new PMO, you must try to gather as much information as possible about the PMO and the role.  When you have decided to take on the new opportunity (or challenge), spend time engaging PMO resources, stakeholders and sponsor to understand what works and what does not work.  This will then allow you to create a plan that will move the PMO forward and deliver the services that the stakeholders require.

If you can quickly improve the service it will benefit the organization and stakeholders.  All of which should enhance your career.

Word of caution, if it becomes obvious through the data gathering that the PMO is not supported by the sponsor and stakeholders, there are lots of challenges, deliverables are poor, etc, then it might be wise not to take the role.