Leading PMO conference takes pole position with fun, informative learning for PMO practitioners

FuturePMOFuturePMO 2021, Wellingtone’s flagship conference for PMO and PPM practitioners at all levels, opened its doors on the 14th of October. Now in its fourth year, the conference once again delivered on its reputation for inspiring delegates with top calibre speakers and high-quality learning, delivered in a fun, friendly and Covid-safe environment.

Headlining with keynote speaker, the inimitable Stephen Carver (Cranfield School of Management), the agenda this year was packed with sessions designed to challenge PMO thinking. Speakers included HS2, DEFRA, ONTIC, the Salvation Army, the Commonwealth and War Graves Commission, and the Government of Monserrat (2020 APM PMO of the Year Winner). Meanwhile, the Association for Project Management (APM) and Project Management Institute (PMI), engaged with delegates from their stands on the exhibition floor. Proceedings were closed with a keynote by the Williams F1 team, who delivered fascinating insights into their strategic planning and product development. They also took centre stage in the exhibition hall with a Williams F1 car, thrilling delegates and taking the prize for the most nail-biting prop manoeuvre attempted in the history of the event!

Standout seminar themes included the future, PMO development, PMO journeys and PMO for social change, as Wellingtone’s Emma Arnaz-Pemberton (Director of Consulting Services) explained. “It was fascinating to hear our speakers’ views on topics including major project planning, P3M3 and PMO maturity, and applying PMO practice to social change,” she said. “We are passionate about the role of the PMO in shaping not just the future of work but the future of society. I think our agenda this year really reflected that.”

This philosophy extended to Emma’s own presentation on PMO resilience for individuals and teams, plus the chance for delegates to experience a taster of Wellingtone’s new Agile for PPM Professionals Course, newly accredited by APM. The conference focused on the future of technology, too, according to Baz Khinda, Commercial Director at Wellingtone. “Naturally, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we were excited to introduce not just the latest Microsoft solutions for working smarter, but also Power PPM, the next-gen PPM solution built on the Microsoft platform,” he said. “As it turned out, I had the opportunity to demonstrate hybrid working in action, dialling in to present on the big screen due to a last-minute hitch! It just shows how the right technology can support us all in delivering our work, no matter what challenges we face.”

In planning the first in-person conference for PMOs since lockdown, Future PMO’s organisers faced additional logistical considerations this year. “We thought very carefully about whether we should go ahead,” said Vince Hines, Wellingtone’s Managing Director. “But we are a human-led organisation and, because Future PMO is a strictly non-selling event, we can plan independently, make brave choices, and change lanes quickly where needed. By keeping the same venue but reducing numbers and maintaining strict Covid safety guidelines, we were able to meet a real pent-up demand for face-to-face networking whilst safeguarding our delegates. I am very proud of our entire team for working so hard to achieve this.”

FuturePMO 2021 Formula 1 themed PMO ConferenceEarly feedback suggests that delegates gained enormous value from the conference. But they also played hard, getting stuck into F1 driving games with a leader board (a nod to next year’s “Level Up” theme), sweets and treats, and a goody bag with a calendar featuring PMO monthly challenges and the chance to win prizes. The gifts even included a set of F1 Top Trumps and a model F1 car to take home for the kids. “We always work to make sure Future PMO is a lively, fun learning environment, but this year that was even more important,” Emma says. “We knew that this would be the first time out for a lot of people, so we wanted to deliver something special and a unique opportunity for PMO practitioners to learn, share and grow. I think that’s exactly what we did, and we are delighted that everyone had such a great day!”

The next FuturePMO conference takes place on the 6th October 2022. Early bird tickets are on sale now