Want to understand your individual(s) journey to becoming a rounded, experienced, and knowledgeable PMO person? The Wellingtone PMO Competence Framework has been designed to provide a simple to use tool that enables practitioners at all levels to work across the three domains of PMO: Capability, Delivery, and Strategy.

Competence versus Competency

A search for Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) frameworks reveals two types: Competence Frameworks and Competency Frameworks. Competence is a noun that refers to the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. Competency is an alternative noun that has the same definition according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Competency has been adopted and used through a number of professional channels as ‘jargon’ relating to some areas of professional life and legal proceedings. Because a PMO professional is more than the sum of his or her professional accreditations, it is on this premise that the Wellingtone PMO Competence Framework has been developed. You can learn more about this HERE

PMO Competence Framework

Competence Framework Research Notes

When our team looked into competence frameworks, our research indicated that PMO people are typically bound by competence frameworks or guidelines that are delivery focused. What is often missed, is that PMO People do so much more than ‘just’ enable the delivery of projects through being well-versed in the mechanics of successful project management.

One of the key facets of PMO success comes down to the people and how they build and maintain relationships. This is especially important when (as often is the case) the PMO is supporting the implementation of organisational change – effecting the change whilst being affected by the change at the same time requires a degree of mastery when it comes to dealing with oneself and others.

The Harvard Business Review published a number of articles in 2017 focusing on Emotional Intelligence (commonly known as EQ) and the impact of how it is perceived by most. What they found was that EQ is considered when thinking about someone’s sociability, sensitivity, and likeability, but not necessarily how EQ relates to their professional ability.

They found that when people think about EQ, they are not thinking broadly enough and so, they introduced the concept of EI which is comprised of four domains: self-awarenessself-managementsocial awareness, and relationship management. The competencies that sit within each of these domains are not only learnable (whereas a lot of EQ is broadly accepted as not teachable but a natural consequence of our nature), but when understood and applied well, they support an individual in delivering outstanding performance as a Leader.

The Wellingtone PMO Competence Framework

PMO Competence Framework Across Three Domains; Delivery, Strategy, Capability

It is no secret that PMO’s can touch all aspects of PPM in an organisation. And we already know that the skills needed to become a successful PMO practitioner are different from those that you need to become a successful Project Manager. Some are transferable, but others are not copy/paste. Our PMO Competence Framework has been designed to be perfectly balanced across the three domains: DeliveryStrategy, and Capability.

  • Strategic competencies test an individual’s toolset; their strategic foresight and business management skills
  • Delivery competencies test an individual’s toolkit; their adaptiveness to their environment to enable successful outcomes
  • Capability competencies test the mindset; behaviours and leadership skills of an individual

As with all things PMO, there is no one size fits all, so it isn’t about ticking every box, but instead, it is about understanding the boxes that are important to the individual (and the PMOs) journey.

As a PMO professional, the framework provides a view on how an individual is performing in each domain (as well as combined) and incorporates the Emotional Intelligence competencies to provide a path to that well rounded outstanding performance Harvard Business Review talks about in their report. Additionally, it considers elements from the APM Competence Framework and the PMI Talent Triangle which also emphasize that talent is not just about delivery but understanding your own business context and be equipped with indispensable ‘complementary skills’. The Wellingtone PMO Competence Framework is designed to stimulate the desire for knowledge.

The Competencies

The PMO Competence Framework has seven competencies in each of the three Competence Domains (21 in total): Delivery, Strategy, and Capability, and covers all the skills required for an individual to forge a successful PMO Career Path; regardless of their route into the industry, or their previous experience. Within the framework itself, each competency is fully defined and provided with an illustration of characteristics and behaviours to enable individuals to understand their strengths and weaknesses.


  • Frameworks & Methods
  • Developing Talent
  • Resource Management
  • Lifecycle Management
  • Governance Arrangements
  • Change Management
  • Assurance


  • Strategic Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Benefits Realisation
  • Analysis & Reporting
  • Business Acumen
  • Strategic Alignment
  • Harnessing Knowledge


  • Strategic Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Benefits Realisation
  • Analysis & Reporting
  • Business Acumen
  • Strategic Alignment
  • Harnessing Knowledge

The Result

An individual’s current skill will be graded on the below scale and provided in a report that provides insight into key areas of strength and opportunities. If our consultants are working with an individual on a one to one basis, they will also develop an action plan to target areas of opportunity, and to make the most of notable strengths. Like many other Competence Frameworks, we do this by reviewing both an individual’s knowledge of, and their experience delivering, that competency.

This allows the result to be truly bespoke to the individual, their role, and their aspirations.

Individual's current skills graded on the PMO Competence Framework

Work and Life Balance

This unique blend of competencies is rooted in the same ethos that Wellingtone has for PMOs. There is no one better ‘type’ of PMO or PMO Practitioner. There is instead a nature in everything and everyone, so the competence framework enables individuals to look inwardly for context as well as their work persona to create a bespoke, rounded journey to support their very best self by adding to their competencies over time.

According to Reed (How to Achieve a Work-Life Balance), a work-life balance allows individuals to realise their personal as well as their career goals. This is achieved through an understanding of their nature as a person and how that is implied both in their life and work context. The Wellingtone PMO Competence Framework blend of domains and competencies includes some elements that can be applied in both contexts (such as Emotional Intelligence) allowing for a career path that reflects the individual as much as it reflects the professional.

How to Access the Framework

Wellingtone offers the Competence Framework through several channels:

  • At the start of PMO engagement, the PMO teamwork with the new client with a self-serve toolkit to get an overview of the level of competence in the team in order to deliver an appropriate roadmap
  • A stand-alone service which includes the competence framework through a series of interviews, coaching and mentoring over an agreed period of time
  • Those attending the APM Accredited PMO Practitioner course get an insight into their competence levels with a taster of the framework to get them started on their personal journey