PMO Leadership: The Career Responsibility

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

A lot of people seem to see project management as a career ambition, and that’s a wonderful thing. I find it terrific that I am in a profession that so many people want to be a part of. But once you have achieved that ambition of being a project manager, what happens next? How can your career continue to develop, and who can assist you in those ambitions?

To my mind, the head of the PMO has a significant responsibility to the project managers that work within their PMO to act as career coaches and mentors, and in this article I’d like to explore that in a little more detail.

Understanding your team
Whether your organization has project managers reporting to the PMO directly or whether the PMO is a separate function, project managers will look for guidance from the PMO head--they are seen as one of the experts within the organization on the profession that PMs have chosen. If you run a PMO, then you need to understand that you are a role model--and you need to recognize the responsibility that the role brings.

To generalize, project managers have three major career paths open to them:

  • To become project managers for larger and larger initiatives--effectively staying within the project management discipline but with greater responsibility for resources, budget, etc.
  • To move into program, portfolio and PMO management--staying within the …

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