PMO Leaders Work on the PMO not In

I had the chance to work for two companies as a project manager. They both had a PMO.  They both had a collection of project managers and scrum masters that helped project teams deliver great products.

One company had a PMO leader that worked in the PMO. She had a full time job as a Project manager and held the role of a leader.  She only obtained the leadership position because she had done project management for the past 17 years.  The project managers and scrum masters had experience as well.  The PMO had templates and processes, but the PMO was failing.

2016-09-14_08-30-52.pngThe other company had a PMO leader, project managers and scrum masters as well.  The leader was in charge of building the PMO only, not working in it.  With this subtle change, this PMO had about 40% more revenue (completed projects) being generated than the other one.



Characteristics of working on the PMO

  • Imagining the PMO as it will be
  • Setting strategic direction
  • Establishing the budget
  • Establishing the hiring criteria
  • Transforming the systems
  • Identifying better ways of getting things done.
  • Causing creative tension

Characteristics of working in the PMO

  • Running projects
  • implementing the strategy
  • managing the budget
  • Servicing the current customers
  • Process improvements
  • resolving tension

Working in the PMO is complacent.  Working on the PMO is scary.  However, as long as the PMO leader is working in the PMO, nothing changes.  The PMO can’t grow.  If the PMO Leader does not work on the PMO, no one will and the PMO will fail.  The leader of the PMO should continually work on the PMO to increase the value of the PMO. The project managers and scrum masters should all dedicate some tome to work on improving, and not feel like they are wasting time.

“The future is largely subject to our creation”  —Dr. Russell Ackoff

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