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.jordan@roffensian.com. 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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