My Experience taking the Essentials for PMO Adminstrators course!

A little over a week ago, I knew virtually nothing about the world of PMOs other than what I had been told in my dad’s 15th attempt to explain what he does for a living. As someone having primarily worked in customer facing administrative roles, my exposure to projects and project delivery was limited.

I enrolled on the Essentials for PMO Administrators course which is a brand new entry level course steered towards those new to working in PMOs. I initially thought it may have been a bold choice with my limited project knowledge – but I was pleased to be proven wrong!

A week prior to the course running we received our course materials and instructions for participating, for this course that included a copy of the PMO Competency Framework (who’s lead author happened to be our trainer) and PMO Service Catalogue.

The first day kicked off at 9am with coffee and introductions, an overview of the course schedule and a tech check to make sure all the online tools we would need were set up and working.

We used Trello, an online Kanban board to facilitate group exercises, Miro a virtual workspace, and of course Zoom. These all helped with collaboration between delegates, for most of the exercises the tasks were to discuss a particular part of the syllabus and the tools helped to facilitate these discussions.

I was reassured to see that there were others in the same boat as me, however there varied levels of skill and experience made for some interesting discussions, especially during the team exercises.

A few on the course had in depth project management knowledge and their objectives were about transitioning into a PMO administrative role. Some delegates, like me, had very little experience in the way of project delivery, others were looking to enhance their project knowledge, and even taking the course as a first step into a PMO career!

Introductions over, we got into the swing of things. The first half of the day gave us a quick refresher on project delivery methods and the essentials we needed to get into the core of the subject, “putting PMO in context” if you will, of which “the house extension” was a recurring theme in this section. In our first exercise we were asked to outline our objectives. For me it was simply understanding what a PMO is and what it does.

The complexity ramped up on the second day, which was all about learning the facts, terms and concepts relating to the PMO roles and P3M Administration, and the function and responsibilities of a PMO Administrator.

This is where we really got into the detail of the services that a PMO can offer and what role the Administrator plays in supporting the delivery of those services. To our benefit, Eileen, our trainer had years of experience working in PMOs and excelled in breaking everything down into real world examples and how it might relate to us.

Imagine my INITIAL disappointment when we were told there was homework at the end of each day, as part of the course materials, we were given a sample paper of 60 questions which we worked through in sections after each day and reviewed in the morning… well it turned out to be one most helpful learning exercises for me so far, giving us all the opportunity to know which parts of the syllabus needed reviewing.

The final day got into even more detail still, we covered the terms and concepts relating to the P3M delivery support competences, and the detail of how to deliver the PMO services that require them.

There was a real emphasis throughout on facilitating discussion between delegates and using the varied level of the groups expertise to work through exercises autonomously. I soon realised that the format of learning was core to the courses success, being able to discuss your understanding of the content with people on your professional level.

It seems to me what made the Essentials for PMO Administrators course unlike any other I have taken it is that the trainers have a genuine interest in helping you understand the content and succeed in your role with the knowledge you have gained, than simply reciting from a PowerPoint in order to achieve a pass mark in the exam. This is where the discussions were instrumental in making sure everyone understood, if there was any confusion we worked toward the solution as a group.

All in all I was thoroughly impressed, and learned far more than I would have expected in just three days – the work now lies in reflecting on what I’ve learned and working to integrate it into my day to day.

If you’re interested in the Essentials for PMO Administrator course, you can find out more here, or watch our webinar on the certification below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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