What is a PMO Manager?

The primary job of a Project Management Office (PMO) Manager is to ensure that their company’s standards are upheld and clearly defined throughout the entire process of each project’s development and execution. PMO Managers are responsible for overseeing the work of all project management office personnel, and thus must take ownership of the resulting quality of each project.

A position as a PMO Manager typically involves collaborating with other department Managers, reporting to executive staff and supervising all members of the PMO team. According to findings published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Financial Managers, which includes PMO Managers, will increase 7 percent. This is expected to result in the opening of 37,700 new jobs through 2024, although it is worth noting that there is a considerable amount of competition for such positions.

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PMO Manager Duties and Responsibilities

In order to successfully oversee every aspect of the project development process, PMO Managers perform a wide variety of tasks. Our analysis of a number of online job postings revealed these essential PMO Manager duties and responsibilities.

Facilitate Project Planning

Before a project can begin, the PMO Manager must prioritize tasks, set deadlines and assign staff to various deliverables so that each project can hit the ground running with minimal wasted time and resources.

Analyze Financial Information

A significant portion of a PMO Manager’s job is the analysis of financial data as it pertains to each project in their control. This includes the proper distribution and allocation of resources, the implementation of budgets and the quantification of monetary risk and impact. In addition to those duties, PMO Managers will frequently need to provide budget outlines and financial reports to executives, such as the Chief Financial Officer.

Modify Processes

Once a project is underway, a PMO Manager’s work is not done. It is their responsibility to make sure that all processes related to a project’s completion are carried out in the most efficient and effective manner while simultaneously upholding a given set of standards. To accomplish this, PMO Managers will need to improve new and pre-existing processes, continually reevaluate whether each project is meeting the applicable standards and engage in problem solving with other Managers and personnel.

Ensure Documentation

Every step of a project’s creation, development and execution needs to be thoroughly documented, and it’s up to the PMO Manager to ensure the accurate completion of such documents. This may involve reviewing and aiding in the writing of documents relating to a project’s scope, budget resources and justification.

PMO Manager Skills

Successful PMO Managers have the ability to focus on details and technicalities while simultaneously retaining a comprehensive vision of the big picture. They also work well under pressure, have great interpersonal skills and can juggle several different projects and responsibilities with ease and composure. In addition to these broad skills and personal traits, employers are looking for potential PMO Managers with the following skills.

Core Skills: According to our analysis of various online job postings, employers are seeking PMO Managers with these core skills. If you’d like to begin a career as a PMO Manager, focus on the following.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Financial acumen
  • Adept at project and change management
  • High level of organization
  • Great leadership skills
  • Ability to perform under pressure

Advanced Skills While most employers do not strictly require the following skills, we observed that they often prefer them when looking at PMO Manager candidates. To broaden your career opportunities, focus on these.

  • Knowledge of the specific industry to which a potential employer belongs
  • Project Management Professional (PMP) certification

Tools of the Trade PMO Managers use a variety of tools to accomplish their goals. If you’d like to be a PMO Manager, you should have a good understanding of the following

  • Recent versions of the Microsoft Office software suite
  • Digital document management systems (DMS)
  • Computer systems
  • Telecommunications systems
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PMO Manager Q & A

If you want to become a PMO Manager, it would be a great idea to talk to someone with extensive experience as one. That’s where Atta Tarki comes in. Tarki is current CEO of Ex-Consultants Agency and a former PMO Manager. Here’s what he had to say.

What are some of the core duties performed by a PMO Manager?

The key function [of PMO Managers] is to organize work streams that need to be performed in order for a high priority project to be executed successfully -- there are numerous tools that can help with this work.

What challenges does a PMO Manager face?

This job requires one to deal with an incredible amount of ambiguity. Executing projects never goes as planned. It can be difficult to estimate how long work streams will take, what challenges will arise and whether the outcomes will be impactful. There are also numerous personnel issues. A simple task may suddenly go undone. The PMO Manager will have to find out why – perhaps the person responsible for conducting it does not want to complete it, does not have the skills to do it or doesn’t have the bandwidth. The biggest challenge a PMO Manager faces in underestimating a timeline.

What skills do PMO Managers use most?

First and foremost, a PMO Manager has to be able to problem-solve any challenge with creativity and patience. Additional key skills include critical thinking, organization, attention to detail and [the] personal drive to see projects completed.

What should someone consider before becoming a PMO Manager?

The goal of a PMO Manager is ultimately to drive forward high priority projects. On the plus side, the PMO [can have a] real impact within the organization. On the downside, some of the work can be perceived as mundane and it often takes a long time before you see the result of your work. A good question to ask is "Am I motivated by the workstreams I would be leading as a PMO Analyst?" If not, you should choose another career.

What type of person is successful in this job?

A person with a high degree of natural ability to be organized and organize others is a foundational must have--but, as one advances, they should also have influencer or external leadership skills that can help bring together people and teams towards a common goal--as a result, high-energy, optimistic people often do well in this job.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about being a PMO Manager?

The ability to drive impactful change in an organization. As a very results-driven person, it’s gratifying to be a part of a process that helps bring high-priority projects to completion.

PMO Manager Salary

According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Financial Managers, which includes PMO Managers, is $117,990. PMO Managers in the 10th percentile earn $63,020 per year, while those in the 90th percentile earn $163,680 per year. PMO Managers in New York, New Jersey and Delaware earn the highest salary in the United States, with median annual wages of $165,600, $143,800 and $142,000, respectively.

PMO Manager Resources

From blogs to LinkedIn groups, this list is filled to the brim with great resources for future and current PMO Managers. If you’d like to continue exploring your career as a PMO Manager, keep reading below.

On the Web
PM Perspective Blog

Published by United Kingdom based company ESI International, this blog explores all aspects of project management. Includes posts on risk mitigation techniques, explanations of fundamental concepts, industry news and more.

PMO Advisory

This consulting firm offers free elearning resources, webinars, online certification courses and a monthly newsletter.

ProjectManagement.com Forum

This active online forum provides a platform for the discussion of any and all subjects related to project management, including process improvement, new technologies and knowledge management.

On LinkedIn
Project Management Community

With more than 345,000 members, this group is an ideal place to network with other project management professionals, share ideas, learn about certification and more.

PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management

This group was created by the Project Management Institute, and places a particular focus on career advancement for those working in the field of project management.

Humor in Project Management

If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, you’ll find it here. This group is centered around the sharing of amusing stories from the world of project management.

PMP Exam Prep

This indepth study guide can provide you with nearly everything you need to know to prepare for becoming a certified PMP. Contains sample questions, practice exercises and testtaking tips.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

As one of the topselling books on project management, this book by the Project Management Institute is packed with essential information. Includes illustrations, explanations of processes and descriptions of various techniques.

Project Management for Dummies

As the title suggests, this book is focused on covering the basics of project management. Even if you’re already a certified PMP, this book can act as a useful reference guide.

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