Search the PMO Conference Library

Watch back all our PMO Conference sessions

PMO Library | Free Articles | Inside PMO | PMO Book Shelf

PMO Conference 2021 \\ Does Your PMO Offer Support or Services? – Eileen Roden

How do you describe what your PMO does?
Many people still object to the PMO being seen as a support service; others don’t like to be restricted by a defined set of services within a Service Catalogue.

During this session, we’ll look at the two different approaches, the pros and cons of each, and in which contexts they are most effective.

Session Recording


Download the Slidedeck

Does Your PMO Offer Support or Services – Eileen Roden

Eileen has a great analogy about support based PMOs and service-based PMOs.

The support based ones:

We’re moving from ‘the kids come home and say “can I have something to eat”  and you’re in the kitchen using whatever skills you have; whatever recipe book you have; using what’s available; whatever time of the day it is and how hungry the kids are’ to pull something together and get it on the table.

The service-based ones:

Into a restaurant. Where there is a menu.

So we can do some planning.

Make sure the right ingredients are there for the right time of year and manage those costs.

Know our market and what our customers want.

We can set the opening hours.

And know what customers are prepared to pay for.

We’re also in control of which chefs are assigned to which meal preps. Who’s accountable, skilled and available to do it.

So the question is – home cook or restaurateur?

Top Ten Takeaways

A support based PMO does not just mean that PMO provide administration support.

A support based PMO tends to be led by what each project wants – which often means the PMO can be providing different support to different projects – it tends to be very reactive.

Although this sounds good – we’re being customer centric and agile in what we’re offering – these types of support PMOs tends to be POOs and POTs – PMOs of One and PMO of Two (people). These support PMOs tend to feel very embedded into the projects and feel very much part of the project team. We also tend to see support-based PMOs in organisations which perhaps are not as mature as they could be and don’t really understand the value that a PMO can really bring.

You can move from a support based PMO to a service-based PMO over a period of time.

Being a service-based PMO – perhaps using a service catalogue – which has a pre-defined set of services that you offer, doesn’t mean that you can’t be flexible on what you offer based on what a customer may really need at a particular moment in time.

The pre-definition of services could for example, account for 50% of the work effort from the PMO – these are the things that absolutely need to be done by the PMO – these are mandated, for example, reporting. That leaves the rest of the time to be able to provide these services which are ‘off menu’ for example, facilitation for workshops.

Service-based PMOs set expectations about what it will offer. It then allows that PMO to make sure they have the right people – the right experience and skills – to offer those services.

When it comes to choosing which services – they HAVE to be aligned to what the business needs – and normally this means being aligned to the strategy of the business.

We also need to understand what the challenges are for our organisation when it comes to successful delivery – what is it that the business really needs to see – what are the outcomes.

We start by looking at the middle – the Outcome – the perfect place to start, the middle of a benefits map!

When the PMO starts to understand what the benefits might be for delivering a certain set of services for the organisation, we can start to work backwards to understand what those services might be.

PMOs must have their own project management skills within the PMO because in order to deliver services, they will be created and delivered like a project.

For example, developing a business case template – we have to understand the requirements, plan it and actually deliver it and ensure people are using it. It’s not just an afternoon’s work of creating a template in Word!

When the service based PMO is offering services, each one of them has a process behind them. Creating a process may seem pretty straightforward but one of the most overlooked part of it is ensuring the governance is in place for each one of them. For example, who is responsible for creating it, who is accountable for completing it etc.

It’s also not a case of documenting what we already do – we need to make sure what we already deliver is still needed.

The service based PMO cannot be expected to deliver certain services if it is not skilled to do so. It’s better to say no to delivering certain services that are outside of the skillset rather than agreeing to do it and not being able to deliver.

Of course, the ideal outcome would be that the organisation agrees to upskill the PMO in order to get the services they want.

The PMO should have a PMO Service Strategy and also a Service Catalogue, which are a list of all the services that a service-based PMO provides.

Each service will typically include the following:

The Operational Handbook details all the procedures undertaken by the PMO for delivering the services; monitoring and control of the services – and of course, how do we make sure the services are providing the intended benefits or outcomes – the performance metrics.

The House of PMO has launched a new community based project focused on service catalogues.

Want to find out more and get involved? >> Find out more



Was this article helpful?
0 out of 5 stars
5 Stars 0%
4 Stars 0%
3 Stars 0%
2 Stars 0%
1 Stars 0%
Please Share Your Feedback
How Can We Improve This Article?
Table of Contents