Book writing week 10

And it’s finished

Its finished

For those people who have been following this blog for the last 10 weeks you will know I have been spending the time writing the PMO Services and Capabilities manual. Well after 10 long weeks I have managed to get to the end of the writing process. It is now over to the reviewers to find out which services are missing, and to correct any other errors which have crept in along with way.

What have I learnt about book writing?

I think the first thing for anyone else writing a book is to be focussed and dedicated. It is good to have a routine to fit into. Personally, I chose to start the day with a quick jog around the block, this allowed me time away from the computer to compose my thoughts for the day. What was I going to write about, how was I going to write it?

After a while, when I decided to use a burn up/burn down chart to work out my progress, I realised how many services I was likely to write in a day, and therefore I was able to use that as a target for whether I had a good days’ writing or whether it was a bad day. Sometimes if it isn’t going well then it is time to walk away and gather your thoughts. Hence having a dog that could be walked was a good afternoon distraction.

Without targets to aim for it is very easy to get distracted … oh is that a bird in the garden … and loose focus on what you were doing. Once you have lost focus then it takes time to get back into the groove again

What have I learnt about the PMO?

A learning point is how vast the PMO role is. It covers a lot, no wonder people, me included, have difficulty in summarizing up the role in a succinct manner. It means that no 2 PMOs are alike. I don’t think I will ever see a PMO team and definitely not one person doing all of these services at the same time (there really isn’t enough time in the day). Hence the depth and breadth of the PMOs out there.

I learnt how intertwined the PMO services are with each other. If you have a service for developing a framework, you can’t really do that without communicating the framework, and you can’t assess how well projects are adhering to that framework without the other 2 services.

Some of the services are difficult to classify, as previously mentioned if there is a service of review business case, does it fit into benefits management, financial management or portfolio management? Thanks to the readers of this blog I think we have a way around that now.

What’s next?

Well the book needs to go away to be reviewed and I am relying on my co-authors for their expertise here.

For me personally I now need to find something that will occupy me. If anyone has a (paid) job they know about then I would be more than happy to hear from you.

Book Writing Week 9

The end is in sight

As you may have noticed I missed a couple of weeks worth of these updates. That is because I was deep into the writing of all of the services. Being in the middle of the writing is difficult as you have done quite a lot, but you still can’t quite see an end to the list.

How much have I written?

Now I am much nearer the end, I can almost taste it. Of the 330 services I started with in the PMO Services and Capabilities book, I have ended up with about 250. The 80 that I have discarded were duplicate services. It not until you start writing them do you realise that you are writing the very same thing, just in a slightly different guise.

I now have around 30 more of the services to go, which if I get a good writing head on I should be able to complete this week.

What have I learnt?

The strange thing with writing is that it isn’t actually the writing that is difficult, it is the thinking that goes into the writing that is the difficult part. If you have a good day and the brain is whirring away then you can get through a few of the services in a morning. If the brain isn’t working, or you aren’t in the mood then you end up staring a screen for ages with no words being added to the page.

When the muse doesn’t turn up, then it is very easy to get distracted and before you know it a whole morning has been used up, and you are not quite sure what you have got to show for it. Keeping the discipline is very important if you are looking to embark on something like this yourself

Where do I go from here?

Assuming that I do manage to get the rest of the services written this week, then apart from having a day off in celebration, then it is over to the reviewers. I assume it may take them a while to go through and give it a read, but I assume it is going to be quicker reading it than it was writing it. After the reviewers have been at it, and I do hope they are not too harsh, then it will time to make the corrections.

With any luck the book will see the light of day early next year, a date I am really looking forward to.

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