The Edge in PMO Consulting

Are you a contractor working in the PMO space? Or working as a PMO Consultant? Working for a small consulting? Or perhaps you’re working for one of the big “4” consultancy firms, offering services to clients around PMO?

It’s no surprise that there is a demand for consultancy services for organisations looking to implement a PMO or to provide a wider solution such as ‘improving the project management capability in the organisation’. We often see organisations bringing in consultants to help advise on the best solution for the organisation, then seek to provide the heavy lifting, by providing more consultants, to make the solution stick.

Increasingly, consultancy firms are providing a specialist focus on PMO, such is the demand from organisations looking for improvements in the way they manage portfolios, programmes and projects.

Back in November last year, PMO Flashmob hosted an evening called “The PMO as a Delivery Partner“. The session was delivered by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) consultants. The focus of the event was the positioning of the PMO as a delivery partner to the organisation – which in effect is all about the PMO transforming from a passive administrative function to an “independent business function”

The Delivery Partner model identified four areas which form the foundation for the model. These were:

  • Strategy and Execution
  • Decision-Making
  • Control Environment
  • Strategy Optimisation

These areas include the PMO being involved in strategy planning; being focused on outcomes; increasing the speed and clarity of decision-making through professional expertise and insight; providing lean processes; provide and assure the control environment around delivery; hold delivery areas to account; identify and exploit synergies and optimise delivery against resource constraints.

PMO ExpertPMO Consultants – Large and Small

It’s interesting stuff from PwC and clearly an insight into where their clients are heading as they look to strengthen their project management capability. They have clearly have an established PMO consulting services approach.

The question that interests me is, “how do consultants develop their specialist knowledge and skills in PMO services, and what makes them qualified to offer the services?”

Clearly, we don’t all work for PwC – or any of the other big consultancy firms offering such services – yet there is boom time right now for PMO practitioners offering PMO services to organisations large and small. These are the PMO Consultants who don’t work for the large consulting firms. These consultants are working for organisations that don’t necessarily seek out, nor can afford, the large consulting firm fees.

The model for these PMO Consultants is very simple. The business wants a PMO, we’ll hire you because you’ve done this for other organisations and you clearly have the experience to do it for us.

Sometimes these PMO Consultants don’t even know they are consulting. They’ve been hired as a contractor, to come in and “set up a PMO”. Yet in you’re in the business of PMO, you know that is not a straightforward task – there are a lot of answers needed before you can begin to understand what the organisation means by a PMO, let alone what they want that PMO for.

As the number – and type of PMOs being implemented in businesses continues to grow* it stands to reason that there will be more opportunities for PMO Consultants in the future too.

How Many Consultants are PMO Qualified?

It’s an interesting question. This is not project management qualified, this is PMO qualified? Through many years of PMO Flashmob and meeting many different types of PMO contractors and consultants – not many (best guess, probably about 75%) are PMO qualified.

This is a professional who is offering services to a business in a specialist area. Providing guidance and advice which can ultimately make or break an organisation’s ability to deliver their strategies through effective portfolio, programme and project management. All done with zero formal training or education in the area in which they’re specialising.

Before you jump in with a “well there’s not much training available” or “a training course doesn’t mean you can do the job”

I totally agree. Yet there are some PMO specific training available and it’s not about taking up a course to simply put something on your CV – this is about learning about the PMO industry.

Take P3O® for example, for those organisations that have heard about it they would, rightly, expect their PMO consultants to know a lot about it. Yet many PMO professionals I meet today know very little.

If I was offering PMO services to organisations I would want to know that I have all the education, knowledge, skills, insights, opinions and training there is to have on the subject of PMO. I’m a consultant, it’s my job to advise based on good – best practice. How can this be done without taking up a course? And wouldn’t you want people to know – by yes, being able to demonstrate you’ve invested in training on the very area you’re now offering specialist services on.

The other benefit as I see it after working for many areas in PMO recruitment is moving forward there will be more opportunities for freelance contractors, consultants in PMO and more competition for the roles. Taking up a certification in the field you specialise in is a smart way to stand out in a crowded market – for this reason alone, a certification hasn’t ever been a waste of money.

PMO Just Got Good

For those who have been working in the PMO field for years, have worked their way up in permanent roles for years and have taken the leap to providing services on a freelance or consulting basis – one thing is clear, PMO has got VERY interesting these past few years.

Conversations around portfolios, enterprise PMOs, working at the board level – all pointing to the PMO growing up – finally PMO has got meaty. It’s also got more complex and ambiguous- it’s primed to be the new Wild West with lots of small consulting firms springing up and PMO gurus offering the snake oil.

As a PMO Consultant, how do you stand out for all the right reasons? That was one of the areas we touched on in the new pilot session for the PMO Contractor Workshop where we explored how as a PMO professional you keep up to date with best practice in PMO and also more innovative thinking that is emerging.

The P3O® courses on this page are offered by PMO Learning. P3O® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited. P3O® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

Share: Linkedin Logo Facebook Logo Twitter Logo

Leave your thoughts

House of PMO Essentials

P3O® Certifications

MoP® Certifications

Stay in Touch