Leading a high-impact PMO

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

Many PMO leaders fall into management positions accidentally because they’re a gun at project management, but they lack crucial leadership skills. Does that sound like you or your boss? PMO specialist Bill Dow is here to share some of his insights into leading and nurturing PMOs.

Bill is a recognised expert in project management by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a college educator, and has worked at Microsoft for more than 10 years. He’s seen many PMOs fall into the pattern of churning out projects for the sake of it, as their leaders scramble to put out fires instead of looking at the bigger picture.

In this podcast, Bill speaks with Elise Stevens about how to lead and nurture a high-impact PMO.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • PMO leaders should be aligned closely with business leaders to ensure every project moves the business forward.
  • While many PMOs are eager to get stuck into the execution of projects, they instead need to be focused on their relationships with business leaders, and ensure stakeholders know what value they’re getting from the PMO.
  • A great PMO starts with people. PMO leaders should prioritise the team over the tools and processes. Consider a mentoring program or buddy system to ensure employees have somewhere to go when they need help.
  • Don’t kill people with process. Some team members will need lots of process but others will be bogged down by it.
  • PMO leaders should make time for self-reflection and ensure improving their leadership skills and finding mentors is a priority.
  • A focus on self-improvement and constant learning should also be part of the PMO’s culture.
  • Sometimes, a PMO leader will be required to show strong leadership and shut down a project that is no longer in line with the business’ values.

About Bill Dow:

Bill Dow is a senior product marketing manager at Microsoft. With almost three decades of experience in project management, Bill Dow is a recognised expert in project management by the Project Management Institute (PMI). He has taught several courses as an adjunct professor at Bellevue College in Washington and co-authored several books.

You can connect with Bill on LinkedIn