Getting Started with Services in a PMO

What is a PMO service? How about a PMO function? You will often hear ‘PMO functions and services’ talked about but what exactly are they referring to?

When you’re first starting out in PMO there are a couple of things to get to grips with.

First, there’s the project management side. You need to understand how projects are run, what the project manager is doing, what the team is doing and how to keep it all on track. When you’re starting out the [PPSO Essentials] is often the place for PMO practitioners to start because it covers all of that plus what you will actually do in the job of supporting a project, the project manager and the team.

Once you’ve started working in PMO for a while, you start to get to grips with the second part – the PMO itself. A PMO comes in all different shapes and sizes but there is one thing that is constant:

A PMO is there to help an organisation deliver projects better.

To do that important work, a PMO offers different functions and services – depending on what the organisation wants and needs.

PMO Functions

A PMO function is the high-level categorisation of the different areas it gets involved in.

See the image below. These functions are taken from the [AIPMO IPMO-Foundation] course.

These are all the different areas – or perhaps you might call them themes – that exist in an organisation that delivers projects (or programmes, portfolios).

The PMO offers different functions depending on what is needed. Some PMOs might offer all of them; others just a handful.

PMO Services

The services the PMO offers fall within each function. So for example, the PMO offers schedule management as the function and the service might be maintaining and updating project plans. The administration function of the PMO, as another example, will offer a number of services such as minute-taking; travel arrangements; booking meetings and workshops.

For each function area, there will be several services being carried out. Take risk management, another example, services there could range from producing the risk management strategy documentation (at the more advanced end of a PMO practitioner’s level of expertise) through to updating the risk log (at the support officer/co-ordinator end of PMO roles)

Learning More About PMO Functions and Services

PMO functions and services – and your understanding of them are considered to be the bread-and-butter of a PMO practitioners job.

To gain entry-level knowledge of them, it’s the [PPSO Essentials] course. To gain more understanding, especially if you’ve been working in a PMO for a while, there are two courses.

First [P3O Foundation] covers the functions and services at all three levels – project PMOs; programme PMOs and portfolio PMOs. They’re covered off in [Appendix F] and are covered at a high level on the course.

The second, is the more detailed learning available through the [AIPMO IPMO-Foundation]. Not only does it cover the functions and services in terms of what they are (like P3O’s Appendix F) it goes one step further.

Putting PMO Functions and Services in Place

The AIPMO IPMO-Foundation goes a step further in that a PMO practitioner has to know how to put PMO functions and services in place; then run with them; and then continuously improve them.

Take a look at the PMO Lifecycle below from AIPMO:

PMO Services Lifecycle Framework

You can see at the bottom part of the image above – the PMO Services Lifecycle Framework – which covers how functions and services are put in place in a PMO.

It is this part of the training that we’ve never seen before in PMO courses and one which really elevates the role of the PMO practitioner. You learn about why certain services are needed; the best way to design those services based on the organisation you are working in. Then there is the concept of piloting new services before rolling them out across the organisation. There’s the ongoing operation of them – getting better and more streamlined before either transforming them through improvements or retiring them because there is no longer any need for them.

It’s this level of function and services knowledge that PMO practitioners currently working within PMOs are finding really useful in their roles.

If you are interested in also elevating your role in PMO, take a look at the [AIPMO IPMO-Foundation] course.
AIPMO IPMO-Foundation

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