How to Apply for a PMO Manager Job

We continue the series of articles which focus on the different types of roles you’ll find in PMO and project support and how you can better understand the job advertisement and make a great application. So far in the series we have – Project AdministratorProgramme Co-ordinatorPMO Analyst.

In this article, we take a look at the role of a PMO Manager – a role which is found within a PMO and can include managing projects, programmes and portfolios.

. . . to lead the office which has been set up to provide guidance and support to all those involved in the delivery of projects, programmes and portfolios – from senior executives to end users and customers. They are responsible for ensuring the guidance and support given actively contributes to successful delivery.

Here’s a real example of a job advertisement for a PMO Manager (retrieved 12th October 2020). We’re in luck, it’s got lots of details for us to look at.


Level 3 - PMO ManagementPMO Manager

Overview

This role is responsible for managing the project management office delivery for Nomad, particularly for Strategic project portfolios of Commercial projects (innovation and productivity) and Business Change projects;
Working with the Head of the PMO to:
  • Manage project governance processes for effective project decisions and portfolio reporting
  • Maintain and develop (improving quality) the business project management methodology, portfolio management processes and related PPM systems and PMO library
  • Drive development of Project Management skills and capability improvement across the business
Line management of PMO Analyst(s), providing support to project delivery teams and driving project management process adoption and upholding standards

From time to time there will be a requirement to periodically provide project specific support (i.e. PMO support to a project management role) for strategic projects

Responsibilities

Managing Portfolio Governance processes (Innovation & Productivity and Business Change)
  • Management of all inputs and outputs for the portfolio governance (Pre-read, agenda, portfolio status reporting, gate documentation, etc.)
  • Central/Local Monthly Operations Reviews (CMOR/LMOR)
  • Productivity/Fuel for Growth
  • Supply Chain Savings
  • Business change portfolio (via the BCC)
  • Ensure quality documented outputs available promptly, recording key actions and project decisions on the portfolio and maintain the portfolio master plan
  • Further developing process maturity (reacting to business changes), maintaining PPM system, process documentation and providing training to ensure process enables delivery and drives quality
Portfolio management and maintenance of PMO library
  • Maintain the documentation of the portfolio in the PPM tool, ensuring each project is properly planned, financials and plans are baselined, gate documents are archived, project status and key milestones are recorded and maintained
  • Deliver accurate portfolio reporting
  • Manage PPM/Planview Administration
  • Ensure lessons learned on projects are systematically collected, shared and actioned and a library of such is maintained. Summarise key project learnings for portfolio governance forum half yearly
PMO Training and Capability Development
  • Maintain documentation of project process (the methodology) and project and change management skills in support of project management capability matrix (PMO Academy)
  • Provide solutions for and coordinate delivery of training (and where relevant provide training in conjunction with the PMO team) to drive project management capability across the business
  • Identify, raise and support resolution of reoccurring project issues, areas for improvement, opportunities to improve project and portfolio management effectiveness, working with colleagues to continually update and improve the system and its processes
Line Management
  • Lead and develop the PMO Analyst capability within the PMO to deliver excellent project services to key projects and support the efficient running of portfolio management

Qualifications

Essential
  • Demonstrated success in setting up and managing a project management office (5+ years experience in a PMO context)
  • Broad understanding of project management methodologies (Prince 2, Agile) gained in project delivery roles, i.e. not just theory
  • Previous experience of Project Governance; membership of governance committee
  • Prior experience of administration of stage and gate processes
  • At least 3 years of proven Project Management experience, particularly in execution of project controls in large, multi-disciplinary projects (plan delivery, risk and issue management, etc.)
  • Excellent MS Project and MS Visio skills
  • Strong analytical skills; including experience of business process analysis and mapping
  • People management experience
  • Experience of managing and use of PPM toolsets (Pro Clarity, Planview, KeyedIn, Clarizen, etc)
Desirable
  • Knowledge of planview system and Innovation Process
  • MS Office Skills (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Formal PMO qualification (or studying for)
  • Experience of working in Fast Moving Consumer Goods business

The PMO ManagerLet’s take a look at each line in this job specification and see what we can learn from it and share some tips on how you can use that knowledge in your CV.

Overview

This role is responsible for managing the project management office delivery for Nomad, particularly for Strategic project portfolios of Commercial projects (innovation and productivity) and Business Change projects;

It’s a role that covers both projects and portfolio so you’ll need to clearly show on the CV that you’ve had the experience of both.

Working with the Head of the PMO to:
  • Manage project governance processes for effective project decisions and portfolio reporting
  • Maintain and develop (improving quality) the business project management methodology, portfolio management processes and related PPM systems and PMO library
  • Drive development of Project Management skills and capability improvement across the business

You’ll be reporting to the Head of PMO and you’re responsible for a significant chunk of the work – governance processes, supporting decision-enabling and the portfolio level reporting. It’s also a role that focuses on Centre of Excellence work – maintaining and developing the delivery frameworks and the processes associated with them. The system and library are also brought in here which indicates we’re talking about a lot of data and documentation too – hopefully, you have PPM tool experience and Sharepoint.

The development of capability – of project management skills also indicates you’ll be a PMO practitioner with experience of devising training, workshops, courses and running those. Ideally, you’ll have coaching and mentoring experience too.

Line management of PMO Analyst(s), providing support to project delivery teams and driving project management process adoption and upholding standards

From time to time there will be a requirement to periodically provide project specific support (i.e. PMO support to a project management role) for strategic projects

With the introduction of line management responsibilities here it really does back up the need for a PMO Manager who has experience in performance and professional development then it pivots back to roll-up-your-sleeves hands-on support of projects that are strategic in nature if they need it. Reading between the lines the PMO team may be a little immature, with important projects needing someone with more experience.

Responsibilities

Managing Portfolio Governance processes (Innovation & Productivity and Business Change)
  • Management of all inputs and outputs for the portfolio governance (Pre-read, agenda, portfolio status reporting, gate documentation, etc.)
  • Central/Local Monthly Operations Reviews (CMOR/LMOR)
  • Productivity/Fuel for Growth
  • Supply Chain Savings
  • Business change portfolio (via the BCC)
  • Ensure quality documented outputs available promptly, recording key actions and project decisions on the portfolio and maintain the portfolio master plan
  • Further developing process maturity (reacting to business changes), maintaining PPM system, process documentation and providing training to ensure process enables delivery and drives quality

This is the harder technical part of the role – you either have experience of mapping, analysing and reporting at a portfolio level or you don’t. In your CV you’ll have a whole section on portfolio level activities and make sure you provide detail on the types of things which were tracked, monitored, analysed, reported on and so on. The reader of the CV will be interested in this level of detail. BTW ideally a job advertisement wouldn’t use acronyms so don’t be tempted to use them in your CV either.

Evidence of process improvement specifically related to the portfolio should also be there – perhaps pull out one specific example to demonstrate what you did.

Portfolio management and maintenance of PMO library
  • Maintain the documentation of the portfolio in the PPM tool, ensuring each project is properly planned, financials and plans are baselined, gate documents are archived, project status and key milestones are recorded and maintained
  • Deliver accurate portfolio reporting
  • Manage PPM/Planview Administration
  • Ensure lessons learned on projects are systematically collected, shared and actioned and a library of such is maintained. Summarise key project learnings for portfolio governance forum half yearly

There is the first mention of the PPM tool they are using – Planview – if you’re not familiar with this specific tool you need to have a look and see if there is a demo available. Chances are it will be similar to others you have used anyway but just check. With this role, you’re also expected to administer this tool so when highlighting your tool experience make sure you include the administration side too.

This is a mixed bag of tasks – but they are all related to the use of a tool so make sure you’re able to pull together a collection of tasks and activities related to the tool – including providing a dashboard and reporting.

PMO Training and Capability Development
  • Maintain documentation of project process (the methodology) and project and change management skills in support of project management capability matrix (PMO Academy)
  • Provide solutions for and coordinate delivery of training (and where relevant provide training in conjunction with the PMO team) to drive project management capability across the business
  • Identify, raise and support resolution of reoccurring project issues, areas for improvement, opportunities to improve project and portfolio management effectiveness, working with colleagues to continually update and improve the system and its processes

This is a great opportunity for those PMO Managers / senior PMO practitioners to stand out if they have devised development programmes, carried out training and workshops, facilitated sessions like lunch’n’learns and communities of practice. There are not many people that have, believe it or not, so if resource capability has been your thing, now’s the time to make a song and dance about it on the CV.

Highlight what type of programmes you have devised, why they were created and the outcomes and value of doing them.

Another area that has been highlighted throughout is the lessons learnt. It’s not just about performing these sessions but more about what has been highlighted as needing improvement and what improvements have you personally made plus what the PMO has improved.

This is an interesting role so far because the role is very much like a PMO or Portfolio Analyst – so why is it a manager? I suspect for two reasons – the salary on offer indicates there is a lot of accountability plus there are the line management responsibilities:

Line Management
  • Lead and develop the PMO Analyst capability within the PMO to deliver excellent project services to key projects and support the efficient running of portfolio management

This is not just about managing the PMO Analysts – it’s also about developing their capability. This is the opportunity to demonstrate both 1-2-1 development and support plus that of the whole team. What work have you done previously for skills assessment and development? In this part of the CV, you can also lay out your objectives and how you get the most out of the team.

Make sure you highlight how many people you have managed in previous roles too.

Qualifications

Essential
  • Demonstrated success in setting up and managing a project management office (5+ years experience in a PMO context)
  • Broad understanding of project management methodologies (Prince 2, Agile) gained in project delivery roles, i.e. not just theory
  • Previous experience of Project Governance; membership of governance committee
  • Prior experience of administration of stage and gate processes
  • At least 3 years of proven Project Management experience, particularly in execution of project controls in large, multi-disciplinary projects (plan delivery, risk and issue management, etc.)
  • Excellent MS Project and MS Visio skills
  • Strong analytical skills; including experience of business process analysis and mapping
  • People management experience
  • Experience of managing and use of PPM toolsets (Pro Clarity, Planview, KeyedIn, Clarizen, etc)

Five Skill Areas of PMO ManagersAlthough headed up as qualifications I think we can safely assume they mean experience.

What is interesting here is how Prince 2 is spelt – it’s actually PRINCE2 – plus Agile is not a methodology. Is this hinting that the organisation may not be as mature in project management as we think?

There’s a couple of lines given to governance – including the stage gates. Make sure your governance experience is prominent in the CV.

What’s also interesting here is the mention of MS Project and all the other PPM tools listed – does that mean there is multi-use happening?

Desirable
  • Knowledge of planview system and Innovation Process
  • MS Office Skills (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Formal PMO qualification (or studying for)
  • Experience of working in Fast Moving Consumer Goods business

If you haven’t worked in a FMCG environment before it’s not a showstopper but it never does any harm to try and hit some of the desirable requirements. In this case, the Innovation Process is worth checking out, plus the Planview review.

As for the PMO qualification – the most recognised PMO one in the UK is the P3O – at this level you should be opting for both P3O Foundation and P3O Practitioner. If this is just desirable, make sure you’re hitting that one and showing your dedication to PMO with a certification.

Top Seven Tips for Your PMO Manager CV

Now we’ve looked at the job advertisement; now it’s time to think about your CV. You can gain further help and practical guidance on your CV by taking a look at our CV Development for PMO Professionals short course.

Here are seven tips to get you thinking about what you would need to do with your CV to apply for this and other PMO Manager roles:

  1. Make sure you highlight how many years experience you have in PMO management in your opening profile or statement.
  2. It’s important for the reader of the CV to get a good sense of the types of PMOs you have managed. Introduce each type when writing in the career history part of the CV.
  3. How to convey what level of seniority you are in PMO management? It’s all about the numbers and the accountability. Make sure you highlight how many in the span of control, how many PMO staff being managed, the budget of the programme or portfolio, the level of risk or complexity.
  4. Make sure you add in your stakeholder and relationship management – at this level its good to know at what level of the organisation you’re operating in.
  5. Make it clear in the CV when you’re working on greenfield PMOs (setting them up for the first time) or taking over and refreshing a PMO. It will depend on which type of job you’re going for to help determine how much detail of each you will include.
  6. Try to show key achievements that you are responsible for – for example, you’ve set up the PMO, what are some of the success criteria and the results?
  7. Key skills should be a mix of management, PMO setup and operation, processes/standards, tools and behavioural characteristics.

So there we have it, a job advertisement for a PMO Analyst – what they’re really asking for and how you can reflect that in your CV.

Remember, the most popular course in the UK for PMO Managers is the P3O Foundation,and P3O Practitioner. The P3O Foundation is also available as a distance-learning option for the cost-conscious too.

Watch out for future roles we will tackle in the same way, and remember if you’re looking for work now or need to give your CV a rethink to get better results, take a look at the PMO CV course – just £25+VAT, delivered over two weeks with forum support.

PMO CV

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