Program Framework, Project Management Practice

Discover new PMO techniques and ideas

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After sold-out success in 2015, The PMO Conference is returning on the 8th June for its second consecutive year. An event dedicated to PMO practitioners from around the world, the PMO Conference promises a focus on portfolio, program and project offices, encouraging attendees to learn more about their chosen profession from like-minded experts and individuals. We’re excited to announce that Program Framework will be exhibiting at the event as a Silver sponsor, handpicked especially to advise attendees on the businesses that can directly help their PMO.

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We spoke to Lindsay Scott, Director at Arras People, about the success of last year’s event and why you should join for its second year.

A core focus on the PMO

What would you say is the most exciting thing about this year’s conference?

“I think it’s the fact that there really aren’t many opportunities for people in PMO to get together, so it’s very exciting to see all those people in one place within the conference. It’s far easier to attend project management or program management conferences and more like that; often Project Managers are left with a lot of different choices. So [PMO Conference] lets PMOs get a buzz out of talking to people who do a similar job to their own because you don’t usually get PMO people all together in one room. So when they see there’s going to be 300 people [at the event] it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop: there’re so many people to talk to and not enough time!”

The PMO Conference is being held at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London and highlights the specific challenges found in project management offices as well as the broader project management and program management disciplines. For PMOs, the event promises relevant and pertinent subject matter through a combination of four different session streams:

  1. PMO Thought Leadership and Research
  2. PMO in Practice
  3. PMO Case Studies
  4. Popular Themes in PMO

With a commonality running between all sessions, attendees can expect to discover a wealth of the latest PMO research, learn about new techniques and ideas, and network with fellow PMO practitioners. So, regardless of your avenue in PMO and Project Management, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Who should be attending the event?

“The event is aimed at people ‘in and around PMO’— ‘in’ meaning managers or directors and ‘around’ meaning Project Managers that work within a PMO structure, for example. PMOs vary widely in different types of organisations and attendees will be at different stages in their career. The more senior members can get something out of the thought-leadership that they can then take back into their workplace. But really, anyone involved in PMO will be able to learn from the event; having worked in this field myself, I know how much you can get out of just chatting to people and understanding what they get out of their PMO world as they’re all a little bit different from each other. That’s the main reason why the conference exists.”

“Currently, a lot of the buzz surrounding PMOs is all to do with portfolio management office. It’s relatively new on the block; organisations are struggling to embrace it as of yet but it’s fast becoming a necessity. You can’t do portfolio office without dedicated tools, but because it’s new, there are few companies that have actually adopted them—most are still using [Microsoft] excel. The conference is about understanding the practicalities of working with tools, and companies such as Program Framework help them embrace portfolio management.”

PMOs highlighted resource management as the biggest challenge in 2015. Have you seen companies address that challenge or is it more ongoing?

“It’s ongoing, it comes back to what I said about using the right tools—predominantly PMOs haven’t done well in this area and they’ve coped with using excel spreadsheets. To do resource management properly you need a dedicated tool; when allocating people to projects in real time it’s all moving very quickly, and so you can’t really do it on spreadsheets as they’re just not geared up to it. Transitioning companies into implementing these tools will be an ongoing challenge for at least the next five years or so, I think.”

Is it a case of people being reticent to using different tools?

“I think a part of it is they started using tools five or ten years ago but to no avail. What has happened more recently is that now there are so many tools on the market, they don’t know what to do—they don’t want to make the mistake of choosing the wrong tool and they almost think that nothing is better than something if it’s the wrong something.

“And then, some organisations say they’re not mature enough for it – they want to build up their project management practice, organisations are spending time on that first before they bring in the side of things that dedicated tools can offer. What the PMO conference does is it gets these leading tool or software providers in one room for the day to educate others on how they can make a difference. From a PMO point of view, it’s a very rare opportunity that doesn’t really happen that often.”

So, for anyone that might be interested in attending, what would you say to persuade them?

“We know what kind of challenges you have in your PMO today—both you and everybody else. The PMO Conference is an opportunity to take a step away from your day to day; to listen to new insights, talk to new people, experience the practical and theoretical side before going back into work and implementing the change. I think it’s about reminding yourself why you chose this profession in the first place.”

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We hope to see you there

As a Microsoft Gold Partner for Project and Portfolio Management, Program Framework offers expert knowledge and consultancy for a range of Microsoft tools, namely Project Server, Project Online, SharePoint and Office 365. We’ll have an exhibiting stand, and our Director Paul Major will be speaking at the event—exploring the resource management challenges that project organisations face, zeroing in on where the PMO can really add value to the business and hence raising the value of the PMO itself.

You can follow @PMOconference on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest goings on. We’ll also be documenting the event in tweet-form, so make sure to follow us @ProgFramework so as not to miss a thing. For those that are attending, make sure you drop by our stand and say hello!