The PMO as a Service Provider

It’s not a new concept, the PMO as a service provider. After all, that’s what it does, offers services to the business around portfolio, programme and project management best practice.

More specifically if you look at service management theory, being a service provider is about improving “industry practices by offering specific recommendations and action plans to practitioners.” Now that sounds like a progressive PMO to me.

It’s a shift away from the PMO merely being seen as an admin function or the PMO police – either waiting to serve or being dictatorial – both ends of the extremes. It’s not something that anyone working in a PMO today wants to associated with and that’s why there is a constant push to listen to what the business really needs from the PMO and for the PMO to provide that – on a service-by-service basis.

As is the current popularity for putting the customer at the centre of everything you do, so too is the PMO making a shift to bring the customer (Project Manager, senior exec, end users etc.) at the centre of what they do and the services that can be offered.

The PMO as a service provider is part of the AIPMO IPMO curriculum and features in the PMO Framework Model – the PMO Services Lifecycle Framework enables the PMO to not only design, implement and operate the services required – it also demonstrates how services are retired or refreshed and transformed.

AIPMO Certifications

It is a subtle shift in PMO thinking over the last few years – moving from offering different services from a catalog to becoming a service provider where there is a flexibility of services offered to different customers; choice in the levels of service offerings (mandated and additional); rigour in the creation of services and the performance agreements in place.

Although seen as a subtle shift, it is a significant change in how PMO practitioners not only create their services but also how they are operated, assessed, improved on and ultimately retired when no longer fit-for-purporse.

Never before have we seen this level of detail into how a PMO becomes a capable service provider. The snapshot below is shared from one of the modules from the  AIPMO Foundation PMO certification course where learners are taken through the framework and how to design the optimal PMO services for their businesses.

AIPMO IPMO-Foundation

Key Areas of the PMO Services Lifecycle Framework

The PMO Services Lifecycle is a series of phases that a service passes through from the perceived need through to the evaluation, design, justification, pilot, implementation, operation and retiring/transforming of a PMO service within a governance framework, whilst improving and adaptively aligning the PMO to the organisational strategy.

  • Service Strategy – defines how to determine individual and combinations of services that provides the greatest value to the organisation.
  • Service Design – defines how design a service including the architecture, governance and documentation to meet the demands of the organisation.
  • Service Pilot and Implementation – defines what and how to pilot a service and from the learnings of the pilot, how to implement it smoothly within the organisation.
  • Service Operations – defines the activities required to run the services and maintain the service as defined in the SLAs.
  • Service Transform or Retire – defines the triggers and the resulting activities to transform a service or to retire a service.


The AIPMO IPMO-Foundation level course includes training on each aspect of the Services Lifecycle Framework and the course is aimed at those working within the PMO – primarily as Project Co-ordinators, PMO Analysts etc. These roles are considered to be the ones which service design and implementation are assigned to. Many PMO Managers also see this as a vital component to their learning and often opt to complete the Foundation level before commencing to the next stage – AIPMO IPMO-Practitioner.

The more progressive PMOs in organisations today are making strides to move to the service management model of the PMO – becoming more customer oriented; adaptive; and responsive being the optimal level they would like to perform at. For PMO practitioners working today, it requires a new mindset, a new set of challenges and a new dimension to their skillset.


Interested in learning more about the PMO as a service provider? The AIPMO certifications are offered by PMO Learning in the UK:

[Find out more about the AIPMO IPMO-Foundation course here]


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