Book review: Leading successful PMOs

Just finished reading the book ‘Leading successful PMOs, How to build the best project management office for your business’ from Peter Taylor (author of the ‘The lazy project manager’).
The back cover mentions that Peter outlines the basics of setting up a PMO and clearly explains how to ensure it will do exactly what you need it to do – the right things, in the right way, in the right order, with the right team.
The first chapter explains the meaning and purpose of a PMO. It explains different dimensions of a PMO like type (departmental, special-purpose, outreaching, external, enterprise), and operational method or approach (supportive, controlling, directive or blended). The dimensions are completed with a view on the maturity of the PMO. The chapter ends with a very brief overview what a PMO does (or could do).
Chapter 2, What makes a PMO successful? Is, together with chapter 3, the main part of this book. This chapter gives you a 360-degree assessment looking at the voice of PMO leaders by some short cases studies and interviews, the voice of project managers by analyzing answers from a survey with more than 800 respondents, the voice of the market by analyzing 100 job advertisements for PMO leaders and the ‘C’-level voice to complete the picture.
Chapter 3, Being a successful PMO leader brings together the knowledge from the stakeholder feedback and assimilate it into a competence framework for PMO leaders.
– Be passionate about projects and project management
– Be strong in your communication
– Negotiate well for your PMO
– Be enthusiastic in leading change
– Don’t be afraid to be unique: anything else is probably wrong for you and your business
Chapter 4, Starting a PMO helps you to build the business case for a PMO. The final short chapter is about the final frontier, some final thought on the future of the PMOs. Is a PMO for life? Is the PMO the only answer? Is the PMO the mother of all project managers.
Conclusion. My expectations where very high, due to the fact of Peter’s book about the lazy project manager and to be honest I am not completely satisfied. Why didn’t he go into the details of his own PMO. In his book he showed three times his 5 ‘P’s: People, Process, Performance, Promotion and PMIS with for each P a detailed list e.g. People: recruitment, profiles, training, induction, certification, assessment, teambuilding. Why didn’t he describe the details behind these lists? In my opinion this would have increased the value of this book enormously. But the book will definitely help you to improve your own thoughts about PMOs and helps you to improve and communicate the added value of your own PMO. You will also get some takeaways like a PMO leaders’ checklist and the PMO acid test.

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