We’ll take a look at the four different levels and highlight the roles that you’ll find within them. We’ll also take a look at the different courses that can help you in your PMO career too.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Level One – New to Working in Project Support
At this level of the PMO career path, the PMO which features the most is the Project level PMO.
The types of jobs which are typical at this level are:
- Project Administrator
- Project Co-ordinator
- Project Support Officer
Level one is not just for people completely new to PMO, it’s also for people who have been working for a few years and are learning project management support as they gain more and more experience.
At this level, you need understanding of formal project management and an understanding of the different tasks and activities that each of these roles performs. To get that knowledge, many opt for the BCS course – PPSO Essentials.
Level Two – Supporting Portfolios, Programmes and Projects
It might feel like a large jump from project support roles to supporting portfolios and projects but there is a progression.
With roles within the Project level PMO, the job titles are likely to be:
- Project Office Co-ordinator
- Project Office Analyst
- Project Office Support
At Programme level PMO, the job titles are:
- Programme Office Co-ordinator
- Programme Office Analyst
- Programme Office Support
The same for Portfolio level PMOs (I’m sure you’re getting the picture)
Other titles are this level might include:
- Project Management Officer
- PMO Officer
- Project Assistant
You’ll also start to see more specialist titles too, such as:
- Project Planner
- Project Scheduler
- Project Controller
All these different jobs are about supporting either projects, programmes or portfolio/s. Sometimes there may be a combination i.e., supporting both programmes and projects.
The key to understanding the different jobs within the PMO at this level is to understand what it is that PMO is doing – what’s the objective of it.
For example, some PMOs might be focusing very much on providing a reporting function – others might be focused on improving project delivery through training. Whatever the focus is, that’s your clue about making the right approach to get into working in that type of PMO.
To gain a good understanding of the different types of PMOs, the P3O Foundation course is a good one to start with.
For more experienced Level 2 PMO people, the AIPMO IPMO-Foundation level course is perfect for advancing your knowledge.
At this level, you’ll also be continuing your education in project management, programme management and portfolio management. You’ll also be looking at improving your behavioural skills and any specialisms such as planning or data management.
Level Three – Leading and Managing PMOs
At this level, it’s all about managing Project, Programme and Portfolio level PMOs.
There are mainly two titles here:
- PMO Manager
- PMO Lead
You’ll also see variations like:
- Project Office Manager
- Programme Office Manager
- Portfolio Office Manager
- Project Office Lead
- Programme Office Lead
- Portfolio Office Lead
How do these two roles differ? A lot of the time it’s an organisational preference, some organisations don’t like to use the term ‘manager’. Another reason is a potential clash when an organisation has many PMOs. For example, in a classic P3O ‘hub and spoke’ model, there may be a central permanent PMO which is headed up by a PMO Manager. Then there may be a temporary PMO to support a programme, this is headed up by the PMO Lead.
To work at this level, the knowledge needs to focus on designing and setting up PMOs and of course running them.
To get prepared for this type of job, there are three different courses, in order of popularity:
At this level, focus on developing leadership and business management skills is also a must.
Level Four – Managing and Directing PMOs
At this level – the most senior in PMO, the titles tend to be:
- Head of PMO
- PMO Director
- Portfolio Director
- Head of Project Management
- ePMO Manager
You’ll see lots of weird and wonderful titles at this level, ultimately these roles are about taking responsibility for an organisation’s entire delivery capability. That can be a massive job in a large organisation and they’re focused on areas such as strategy execution; portfolio planning; managing delivery staff and so on.
The title – ePMO – sums it up well – it’s the Enterprise level PMO.
At this level, there is only one formal PMO certification course to do – it’s the AIPMO IPMO-Expert course.
It’s a given that you’ll also have senior management and leadership development ongoing too.