Book writing week 6

Over half way there

Surprisingly it is still going well with the book this week. The number of services to write has come down from 300+ through to around 260. That means that I have am about half way through all of the services that I have to write. I do suspect that at some point that list may come up again as I work through the remainder and find items that are missing.


Thanks to those people who contacted me after last week’s blog post with suggestions as to how I could improve the categorisation of the services, without duplicating them. It is great to know that a) people are reading this and b) they are doing this critically with a view of making this PMO Services and Capabilities book the success it should be.

PMO-Services Book


For too long we have had advice available which gives an overview about the promised land where everything works well in the world of PMO and everyone loves you. However, in my experience having talked to lots of different PMO people over the years, what is really required is some detail into how do you do that? I think this is down to the analytical nature of the PMO person. They are naturally curious and want to get to the bottom of things. I am hoping that this book will satisfy the curious and the people reading it will be able to get down into the detail of how to do the role, and why.


For some people, it won’t go far enough. Why? Because any book can’t know the detail of your organisation and the culture and politics within it. It doesn’t understand the people who will be asked to deliver these services. This is where the sections within the book on how to apply this come in. Not only will you get a list of services, but you will get some guidance on how you can apply this to your organisation.

Book writing week five

The easy stuff is done

PMO-Services BookI am maintaining good progress towards the goal of documenting what all of the services are likely to be. I feel good in that quite a few of the domains are done, so that looks positive in the items delivered column. This week I have written 100 services of the 300+ services we started with. I did manage to finish the group I started last week plus another one.


On the way I have found a whole lot of duplicate services. I had a disappointing week this week as 3 of the services I wrote or tried to write turned out to be duplicates. I spent time writing one of them completely before working out it was duplicate. The next one I looked at I got half way through and then realised was a duplicate and the third one I realised was duplicated just as I started it. It felt like a morning wasted but I then realised this is why we are doing this. At no point has anyone tried to do this before, so there are bound to be duplications.

It is then how do you group them together? If I have a service of review business cases does that go under Benefits, because there are benefits in the business case? Does it go under Finance, because there are costs in the business case? Does it go under Portfolio Management as you need a business case in order to approve a project? Does it go under Project Start-up as you need a business case when you start a project? Does it go under consultancy as you are providing advice to the project manager? I am sure there will be other examples where we can have a healthy debate about the grouping of these services


As well as finding duplicates, I have found items that we missed. Whilst that is great as it makes it a more complete book, from a writing point of view just when you think you have completed a section then you find additional work for yourself.

Looking forward to next week

Now all of the smaller domains have been written it is time to tackle the larger domains. I expect if I am lucky I can get one of these domains written, maybe one and a half. I would like to finish this month if possible, but I do need to concentrate on trying to get the next contract sorted as well. If you know of anyone who could do with a PMO person then please get in touch.

Book writing week 4


Too hot to think

This week the temperatures have hit record figures in the UK, especially in the south of England where I am based. I normally love the summer, especially as I am writing this book based in the conservatory. But when the temperatures reach into the low 30 degrees Celsius then the keyboard becomes too hot to the touch and it feels like everything is melting.

Velocity GraphHow’s the velocity?

That has suffered this week with a bit of the heat getting to me. Now I have written a quite a few of the 300ish services that we started out with I have worked out what works and what doesn’t work. This has meant going back and tweaking the template we have for each of the groups and services. It also meant going back and changing the items that I had already written to have the same changes. It is amazing how long it can take to go back and make a few minor changes to 100+ files.

Did you manage to get what you wanted done?

Last week I hoped to have got a domain or two written. The good news (for me) is that I did manage to complete one full domain’s worth of services and I got half way through another. I also managed to have a review of the remaining services to try and get rid of the duplicates. On the way I did find a few new services that we had missed on our first review. I am sure there will be others that will be missing as well. That’s where the reviewers come in

What does next week bring?

Its more of the same for next week. As it is getting to the larger domains, it may seem that progress will slow down. I am aiming to finish the one I started this week, and hopefully finish another one as well. It all depends on the weather. At least it will be a bit cooler next week which will help

Book writing week three

PMO-Services Book
PMO-Services Book

Going Agile

It’s been another good week with the PMO Services and Capabilities book. I feel that this is really starting to take shape now. I have been making steady progress with the book and have been using a few of Agile techniques to help me.

When we started the writing we identified over 300 Services that a PMO could offer. No wonder that no two PMOs are created equal. For each of these Services we grouped them together in 2 tiers. We have a set of PMO Domains, within the Domains we have Groups. The Services then sit within the Groups.




Monitoring the backlog

With such a number of Services to describe it can be a bit daunting. This is when the Agile techniques come in. Why not create a burn down chart? If there are 300 Services to be written by a particular deadline, then you can have your baseline position. Then as each one is written it can go into the complete section and you can therefore see how well you are doing against the baseline.

The other useful, and related technique is to look at velocity, or how many Services are being written per day. This then can be used (as I am doing) as a personal target for what I want to deliver for the day. When I wake up I can take a look at the average velocity and that then become my target for the day. Some days I manage to deliver more than the average, other days it is much harder to maintain as the subject needs more thought and concentration

Is it on track?

The good news is yes. It is on track, in fact due to the previous 3 weeks worth of focus is going really well and the velocity is much higher than I was expecting it to be. I have found using these techniques very motivating, probably because I am ahead of target. It is good to have a lower individual daily target for work to be done rather than think I have 300 to write and I have only done 4 today. It is much better to say I have been averaging 4, and I have delivered 4.

What does next week bring?

Next weeks effort will be much the same as the current week. I have been kidding myself by trying to pick some of the domains without too many services listed, but if I complete a domain or two next week (there are 22 overall) then I will be pleased. If I have a good week I might get this up to a third of it written by the end of next week. A major milestone for me to look forward to and to aim for

PMO Services Book

Book writing – week two

PMO-Services Book
PMO-Services Book

It is week two writing the new PMO Services and Capabilities book and it is all starting to take shape. Having had two good weeks at this now i can see how it will all come together. There is a long way still to go, but I feel like I can see how this will be of use to the profession.

In writing this it has made it clearer in my mind certainly about what PMOs can offer and how they can offer it.

What it is about?

If you are not aware this book is being written by myself, Hans Arnbjerg and Dr Robert Joslin. The purpose of the book is to clearly lay out what services can a PMO offer. Having had a look around what is available in the market place, I don;t feel there is a book out there which does describe this in the detail that this book plans to cover.

Why do we need it?

There is a lot of work out there for project managers, program managers and even for portfolio managers, but there is very little dedicated to the PMO market. I suppose this is down to the market being smaller, after all most of the PMO people I speak to have between 5-10 project managers they support, But it must still be a large enough market. If there have been over 1 million PRINCE2 exams taken then if there is one PMO for every 10 of those then we are still talking 100,000 PMO people. Not an insignificant number. And I know there are other exams, and not everyone who takes PRINCE2 is a PM (I took it and I have never been a PM), but I am just using this as a rough indicator.

When can we see it?

We are hoping that this book will be available early next year (2019). There is a lot more work to be done creating this between then and now. No more time for a blog update this week, back to writing some more book