How many times have you heard the question “what does a PMO do”? Just about ten, really? Lucky you, since it is almost as popular as the infamous ‘what does the P in PMO stand for?’. The sad reality is that many PMOs are not communicating their value as well as they could, or they may be trying to do so many things at the same time that is difficult to understand what it is they are trying to achieve. So…let’s tell the world. That’s where the value of a tool such as a PMO Service Catalogue lies.

What is a PMO Service Catalogue?

It is exactly what it says on the tin – you got it right, a catalogue or, if you prefer, a menu of services provided by the PMO. In its simplest form, it can be a plain list of services to assist project teams and decision-makers, however, in its more sophisticated format, it can be a game-changer on how people perceive their PMOs and the value it brings to the table. The value of something is always difficult to assess, particularly when the PMO is not directly contributing to project delivery but is an enabler instead. While it may be true that value is in the eye of the beholder, explicitly stating what you offer, even if for free (!), can set a new expectation towards the work of the PMO and you’ll soon find people wanting to know more about services they were not aware they could get from you.

What does the PMO Service Catalogue include?

The PMO Service Catalogue can be created and shared using a variety of tools, from slide decks to interactive platforms, but the more comprehensive ones tend to contain the following:

  • Service Name: a short, nice, and simple title to identify the service
  • Description: a brief narrative of what the service entails
  • Category: identifies the category that the service relates to within the PMO offering
  • Target User: clarifies who is the service intended to
  • Key challenges: lists the key pain points that explain the why of the service
  • Benefits: a brief explanation of the benefits of the service; it should answer the questions ‘what’s in it for me?’
  • Process: clarifies what are the associated steps in the process, from the moment the service is requested up to when it is delivered or measured
  • Specialist: in larger PMO teams, specialist roles will be the most appropriate to run the service (e.g. Risk specialist; Comms; Scheduling, etc.)
  • Frequency: determines the frequency, recommended or actual, for delivering the service
  • SLAs: refers to the commitment to deliver the service within an agreed timescale or level of quality
  • KPIs: Identify the key indicators that are going to be tracked by the PMO to measure the performance of the service.

Example of a PMO Service Catalogue

Figure 1 – Example of a Service in a Service Catalogue (source: CEB, A New Approach to PMO Value Delivery)

Besides describing what the PMO does, a Service Catalogue can be used as a tool to set expectations and boundaries too by clarifying what is in and out of scope for the PMO or what is not available yet but is in the PMO roadmap. Similarly, it can be utilised as a performance tracking mechanism, where the PMO can easily assign a RAG status to how each service is performing over time. The possibilities are endless when creativity is at play.

But before you leave in a rush to implement such a powerful artefact in your PMO toolkit, let me just share a couple of hints and tips which may save you some time:

  • Make it visual: pictures do tell stories and are worth a thousand words, the saying goes
  • Make it simple: less is, often, more and the same goes to what is in your Service Catalogue
  • Make it fun: avoid jargon and acronyms, there are already too many of them; instead, make it fun for people to interact with
  • Share it. Please: do not just draft a Service Catalogue and tick a box in the ‘PMO best practices textbook’, leaving it to rest in a pile of paperwork. Do bring it to life and share it. After all, the Catalogue is not for you but for others.

Make no mistake, however: a Service Catalogue will be of no use if the mindset of the PMO is not one of a service provider. Before everything else, start there.

During our APM Accredited PMO Practitioner course, we guide delegates through creating their own Service Catalogue for their PMO, in order that they can go back to their organisation with the confidence to be able to articulate what it is their PMO does for its internal Customers.

APM Accredited PMO Practitioner Training Course

This APM Accredited course covers the complexities of the PMO world. It shines a light on the mechanics of successful PMOs with a syllabus covering everything from the PMO context to successful implementation and introduces delegates to the Wellingtone PMO Competence Framework and Maturity Model. It is designed for anyone who has a keen interest in PMOs, practitioners (new and existing) who are delivering, managing, implementing or transforming a PMO. It enables PMO people to develop their skills to bring a unique and best in class PMO to the forefront of their organisation.

Learn More