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5 More Advanced Training Options for the PMO

Back in 2015, we took a look at the five advanced training options for people working in PMO. Four years on and a few things have changed in the PMO field.

There is now another PMO certification option available alongside P3O from AXELOS and the PPSO ones from BCS, both of which feature in the last article. Now there is the AIPMO – the Association for International PMOs – which offers three levels of certification – Foundation, Practitioner and Expert.

The AIPMO has introduced deeper learning for PMO practitioners – for practitioners at different stages of their career. It’s been well received by the PMO community as another option to extend their knowledge across different types of PMOs. It’s also a certification that gets into the details around the different PMO services and capabilities.

With the three different accreditation bodies – AXELOS, BCS and now AIPMO – all offering different types of development in PMO, PMO practitioners are well catered for.

There are many different facets to the PMO practitioner’s job, which don’t get covered on core PMO certification courses. We take an updated look at more advanced options that are aimed at increasing skills and knowledge in core PMO areas. Take a look and think about incorporating these into your development plan and your road to becoming a well-rounded and professional PMO practitioner.

1. Agile

There’s no denying that Agile approaches in project delivery have been a ‘thing’ for a while now and for people working in PMO it has been no exception. As mentioned in the latest PMO themes:

Due to the role the PMO takes in the delivery organisation there is an expectation that the PMO understands which approaches are right for the business and more importantly can support the transition and provide the ongoing expertise.

That has ultimately meant an upskilling in Agile approaches to complement existing waterfall knowledge. Different techniques – such as backlog prioritisation and retrospectives have had PMO practitioners seeking out specific development which covers these themes.

Agile Courses

2. Business Analysis

PMOs which introduce new services; processes, tools and techniques to improve project management capability in project management naturally use approaches normally found in another discipline – business analysis.

Think about it, an improvement is needed in, for example, in the risk management process or governance arrangements in large scale projects. When something isn’t fit for purpose anymore – and something else is needed in its place – that sounds very much like the day-to-day job of a business analyst.

We see more and more PMO practitioners with either a Business Analyst background or have had the foresight to pursue development which will help them be more successful when it comes to setting up PMOs, changing or embedding services.

A fundamental course to gain that foundational knowledge and an initial direction of how business analysis skills can be used in the PMO is the ideal first step.

Business Analysis

3. Leadership

Taking the next steps from working within a PMO to managing one is not just about the increased responsibility – it’s the increasing skills needed in management – leadership, managing others, building relationships at different levels of the business.

It’s a tricky step for many people – often people learn on the job, effectively thrown into the deep end to learn by mistakes and just do it. No course in the world is going to provide everything you need to be ready, but there absolutely is some best practice management techniques that you can learn to help build your foundational knowledge.

Starting on the right foot – then practice, practice, practice is the order of the day:


4. Influence

Here’s a brilliant skill that anyone working in PMO – regardless of the level they’re working at – could benefit from – influencing.

The PMO tries to influence every day – after all one of it’s main objectives is to support the improvement of project management capability in the organisation. That means the PMO coming into contact and working with an awful lot of people who feel the impact of changes and improvements being made.

Influence is also a vital career skill – being able to build relationships, understand how politics work in the organisation and how to build your credibility are all the cherries on cakes when you’re already making great strides in your day-to-day tasks and activities.

5. Strategy

For PMO practitioners looking to work in Portfolio Management Offices and Enterprise PMOs, strategy formulation and management is one area that often gets overlooked.

Understanding how strategies are formulated; alignment of strategies to work (programmes and portfolio); prioritisation of work to strategies and creating the structures that support these activities are not skills normally learnt through traditional programme and project management development routes.

With the number of Portfolio Offices on the increase and Enterprise PMOs seeing the value of overseeing both business-as-usual and change activities, PMOs at these levels are increasingly crossing the knowledge boundaries into business management alongside portfolio, programme and project management. That’s a lot of learning required!


training options

Find out more about the original five advanced training options for PMO practitioners.

With PMOs spanning from project level supporting activities, through to programmes, portfolios and whole organisation entities such as Enterprise PMOs – the remit and the skills required seems to grow and grow. What will be the next advanced training options needed in the next four years?

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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott
Lindsay Scott is Director of PMO Learning, the PMO training specialist and Arras People the programme and project management recruitment specialists. Lindsay is the project management careers columnist for PMI's Network magazine and co-editor of the Gower Handbook of People in Project Management. Lindsay created and hosts The PMO Conference and hosts the monthly PMO Flashmobs

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