One of the Wellingtone PMO Principles is that PMOs are Instruments of Integration.

This means that PMOs are a communicating bridge between strategy planning and strategy execution, and they bring together processes, practices, methods, knowledge, and people from all over the organisation through community, knowledge, and continuous improvement activities 

If lived correctly, this principle enables a systemic and holistic view, ensuring that the various elements of the portfolio are properly coordinated and consistently delivered to achieve true beneficial change for the organisation. 

This article is focused on managing the people side of this principle; PMO Networks. 

PMO Networks 

One of the most effective ways of bringing this PMO Principle to life is to develop, maintain, and manage a network of likeminded individuals from both your internal organisation and outside.  

Your PMO network will be made up of several sources: 

Network Source Who are they?
Stakeholders Anyone with an interest in the PMO, its outputs, or its ways of working
Customers – Delivery Teams Anyone tasked with delivering (part of) project(s) and utilises the services of the PMO to complete their role successfully
Customers – Sponsors Anyone with a senior role who is sponsoring project (s) and requires support from PMO to make informed decisions
Team Members Anyone with a role within the PMO or those with direct links to the PMO through their day to day role
External Influencers Those external to the organisation that are considered industry Leaders who may support the PMO on an ad-hoc basis such as mentoring
Industry Acquaintances Those external to the organisation that are connected to one (or more) of the team through social media or other collaboration channels

How PMO Networks Evolve

Can your PMO handle the complexity that comes with more Stakeholders? 

PMO Networks can be complicated and large or simple and small – but they all require a degree of management because as your network grows, so does the complexity of the touchpoints that exist within it. 

As you can see by the demonstration, the more people we add to our network the more complex it will be and this is precisely why we need to put some management strategies in place to ensure that we aren’t trying to keep a line of sight of every conversation that is going on.

Managing PMO Networks

During our APM Accredited PMO Practitioner training course, we talk about grouping our PMO Customers together to bring some sense to the chaotic list of Stakeholders we often need to communicate with.

Harvard Business Review also talked about how Leaders build networks.

Now, to manage our PMO Network, we can utilise part of the HBR concept to bring some clarity as to why and how PMOs need to network together with the PMO Practitioner training concept to come up with a workable set of groups:

  • Delivery Teams & Managers
  • Senior Leadership
  • The Wider Business
  • External Influencers
  • Industry Acquaintances

The Importance of PMO Networks

By understanding what groups exist for your PMO Network, it is possible to define what type of contact they need to you (the PMO) and each other.

Considerations for Tailoring PMO Communication

Once groups within your network are defined consider how often you need to interact with them and what kind of interaction is needed:

  • Does your PMO strive to be part of external PMO communities through posting blogs and insights
  • What type of networking connection do you need this to be (Operational, Personal, or Strategic)?
  • Do your PMO network groups need to talk to each other to share knowledge and experience?
  • How much information does the wider business need from the PMO? How is it best to offer this information given the organisational culture?
  • Do you have influencers that you want to keep in the loop of what your PMO is doing?
  • Do you have champions or critics that require an appropriate touchpoint?

Tools for Tailoring PMO Network Touchpoints

Considering the potential for complexity, it is important to complete the following:

  • Understand the vehicles you have at your disposal
  • Limit the use of one vehicle to ensure that different methods are used for different parts of your network
  • Schedule touchpoints when it is feasible to do so
  • Understand technology that is available to you
  • Cross-pollinate your network to see real gains
  • Continue to grow your network so it does not go stale

If you can take the time to understand a little about your network, it can bring real benefit in many areas. In this world of connectivity, if your PMO has a large network you should be utilising it to get the best experience for the team and yourself. Not just to get the highest number of connections on LinkedIn!

You can read a blog from Elise Stevens from Fix My project Chaos on the wider principle, PMO are Integrators.