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Top Three Skills and Competencies of a PMO Director

Strategy Execution

What are the ideal skills and competencies of a PMO Director that make him or her successful on the job?

Here are some of my thoughts; I welcome any input from blog readers.

First of all, let me start by saying that not every PMO is the same, so perhaps some of the skills and competencies might be more or less important in some cases.

Good Business Sense

Based on my own experiences, as well as conversations I have had with others about their PMOs, it is clear that having a good business sense is vital for a PMO Director.

Isn’t the success of a PMO not directly linked with the support the PMO will get from upper management?

If a PMO Director does not have the necessary skills to interact with business leaders at their level, then it will be very difficult (to say the least) to have a successful PMO.

I would say that every PMO, perhaps with the exception of a grass-roots PMO, where (senior) project managers are forming their PMO bottom up; needs to have a director that has good business sense, and the ability to communicate the PMO in a language that makes sense to the rest of the business.


Linked to the skill above, a PMO Director needs to be a good “salesman”.

Selling the PMO upwards, as well as selling project management practices, procedures, etc. to project managers is one of the major tasks he/she has.

Do not underestimate the importance of this, a PMO Director is successful if he/she can sell the importance of good project management practices within their organisation.


It should not come as a surprise that effective leadership is my third skill that a PMO Director should possess. How do we know that our PMO Directors are real leaders?

Here is a small “shopping list” to steer you in the right direction:

  • Do they know where the PMO is going, and are they able to put it in simple words?
  • Do they tell people what to do, but not how to do it?
  • Do they do their homework, and are they always well prepared?
  • Do they lead by example?
  • Do they ask people to work as much and as well as they can, not more, not less?
  • Do they take care of their people?
  • Or are they perhaps simply someone that people like to work for/with

If the answers to these questions are ‘yes’ then you are potentially looking at a real leader.

These are just three top skills and competencies.

I am interested to get your feedback on these and more and encourage you to share your own experiences.

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About Kik Piney

Kik Piney
Crispin Piney, an instructor with ESI International, has developed and deployed technically advanced—and culturally complex—capabilities and services in both research and business environments for large multinational companies, advising on project management expertise enhancement throughout such organizations.
Mr. Piney is well known for his ability to link the theory of project management to practical examples taken from his work experience and from everyday life. He is a lively speaker who generates enthusiasm and interaction in his audience. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Imperial College, London, and is anAssociate of the Royal College of Science, London. He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) and is a member of the PMI® France chapter. He is bilingual in English and French.

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