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PMO Conference 2022 \\ Where to Play and How to Win: Our PMO Adventure – Kim Bree & Susie Palmer-Trew

This is a story of the University of Kent’s PMO adventure (and some misadventure) as they transformed from a siloed delivery team to a pan university PMO. Taking disparate activities and delivering a multi-million-pound portfolio, re-writing the rule book on how we govern, lead and land changes in order to deliver the right changes in the best possible way.
Part rags to riches, part Avengers this conference session will share a story that will resonate with many of you on a PMO maturity journey; they share with you all of their learning, everything they wished they had known and their plans for the winning the long game.

Session Recording

The Slidedeck

>>> Presentation Notes

Session Notes

Here are my top five takeaways from this session, the things that I liked and made me think:

Simple Prioritisation

Sometimes its the simplest things that work and get everyone focused. In the session Susie talked about getting started with the portfolio – and using a simple approach called “Could We, Should We” to understand which projects they needed to focus on based on strategic objectives and the ability to actually deliver.

Simple Tools

Excel was replaced by a simple PPM tool – – people within the organisation liked the ease of use and the visualisation elements to it. Just because we can produce masses of data and information doesn’t mean we should. The PMO however has to be the super user in whatever tool/s you’re using.

Landing Change

Sometimes we focus too much on the planning and delivery and not enough on what would constitute the ‘landing of change’. We sometimes call that delivering the benefits or the value but actually has the change really landed in all its forms, including getting the people onboard and happen with the new changes.

Guiding Principles

Do organisations need a multitude of approved or mandated methods of delivering projects? As the project management practitioners mature in their capability – aren’t guiding principles more effective? The PMO should be on hand – moving from a command and control function to one which support capability improvements to enable people to use their judgement (based on knowledge, skills, behaviours and competences)

Building a Community

For the PMO to bring people together in a community of practice – which supports connectedness, learning and sharing – the PMO needs the skills of facilitation, knowledge-sharer, trainer, coach, mentor etc. Communities of practice need real practical sessions like facilited conversations, lunch ‘n’ learns, peer reviews, forums and conferences – and the PMO should be creating that environment and bringing people together. It’s not as easy as it looks!

The final takeaway that got me thinking was the point about “owning the room”. That means being confident in your abilities yet we know that imposter syndrome can often rear its head. We are all expert in something – that could be a particular part of your PMO role – or perhaps you’ve been in the organisation long enough to know whats what and whos who.
Do you know what you’re an expert in?

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