PMO Conference 2020

Opening Keynote – Americo Pinto

Help! They Can’t See the Value of What I’m Doing!:

How to Make Your PMO Increasingly Valued by your Organisation

How many times have you had the feeling that you are doing your best to implement good PMO practices in your company, and despite all your efforts, few people really recognise and value your work?

In his opening keynote, Americo Pinto will share insights that will make you rethink your way of working and your beliefs about PMOs.

The experiences and ideas that will be presented come from the battlefield, as a result of over ten years of research and intense benchmarking in hundreds of World-Class PMOs around the world.

The time is short, but more than enough to make you see beyond and realise how you can generate the perception of value that will make your PMO recognised by your organisation.

Your Takeaways

Leave the session understanding why generating value perception is almost everything you need to ensure the organisational support your PMO needs.
Find out why even doing excellent technical work, many PMOs still fail and what to do about it.
Learn how to create a PMO that is able to reinvent itself whenever necessary, without needing magic pills that will not give you any results.
About Americo Pinto

Americo Pinto, PMP, is one of the main authorities in the PMO topic in the Americas, having more than 20 years of experience as an International Speaker, Consultant, Researcher, Executive and Author. 

He is Chair at PMO Global Alliance, the world’s largest community of PMO professionals, Professor at many universities in Americas and Europe, and a regular columnist at the PM World Magazine. 

Americo Pinto received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award in 2011, in Dallas, TX, for his contribution to the development of Project Management practices. 

Lunchtime Keynote – Laura Barnard

OK, so now what?

With the pace of change ever-increasing, PMO leaders must be prepared to operate in an environment that goes beyond continuous improvement to continuous evolution. Transactional and output focus PMO’s are being replaced with strategically focused PMO’s that not only earn a seat at the table, but become the strategy navigator for the organisation.

Is your PMO prepared for the increased emphasis on portfolio management, Agile, and digital transformation?

In this session you will learn the IMPACT PMO leader mindsets that will ensure you and your PMO will not simply survive, but thrive in the face of ever-evolving business needs.

Your Takeaways

Great insights and ideas for thinking differently about making your PMO succeed.
Learn how to switch from being output driven to outcome driven for your business.
Overcome the 'yes, but' when it comes to driving continued evolution in your PMO.
About Laura Barnard

Laura has been instrumental in bringing PMOs and Project Management to the strategy table for almost two and a half decades. She knows just how hard it can be to drive effective and sustainable change in organizations, having spent 15 years in the role of PMO leader and now she helps organizations accelerate business growth, evolution and sustainability leveraging the power of project management and the PMO.

She has developed a unique and powerful system for growing organizational project management competency with a deliberate focus on driving high-IMPACT outcomes on every project. Considered a thought leader in the Project Management community, Laura shares her insights and stories on the PMO Strategies Podcast, where she is shaking up the way the industry thinks about our role in driving strategy realization. Laura welcomes you to join her community of IMPACT Drivers at



Closing Keynote – Kate Atkin

Help! One of These Days I’m Going to Get Found Out:

Imposter Syndrome: An Explanation and Practical Steps for PMO Practitioners

Have you ever felt you don’t deserve your current position? That despite the objective evidence someone made a mistake and you will be found out?

You’re not alone! It’s called the imposter syndrome and around 70% of people will feel it at some point. Through sharing my personal experiences and my research, I aim to help you spot the imposter in yourself and others. This keynote provides tips, tools and techniques to abolish the internal imposter, and helps you achieve your goals, your purpose and your career aspirations.


Your Takeaways

Learn what imposter syndrome is and what it's not and how it affects your work life.
Find out if you're experiencing imposter syndrome and what you can do about that.
Learn how to recognise imposter syndrome in yourself and others - and how to overcome it.
About Kate Atkin

Kate Atkin is an inspirational keynote speaker, training consultant and coach. With nearly 20 years of experience as a trainer and facilitator, Kate has worked with many clients on business, management and communication issues, and now specialises in the imposter syndrome. A highly skilled listener, her style is both supportive and challenging.

She has an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology which has brought insights into well-being, meaning and positivity that she is incorporating into her work. Her specialist research area was self-efficacy and the imposter phenomenon. Kate lectures at Cambridge University Judge Business School. Kate is continuing with her research and is completing a PhD on the Imposter Phenomenon. She brings clarity, simplicity and practical application to the subject.


PMO Conference 2020 Sessions

About Jo Stanford

Jo Stanford is currently Head of Project Profession and Corporate Portfolio Office for NHS Health Education England. She has spent 20 years working in project management in the private, public and health sectors.

Having been a committee member of an APM regional branch for many years, and currently a member of the Benefits and Portfolio SIGs, Jo is passionate about the value that shared learning and development across industry sectors and geographies can bring, and champions the promotion of professional body standards and chartership.

She is currently leading on the development of the Project Profession within the NHS in England.


The Power of the Network – Building the Project Management Profession in the NHS


Facilitating a network of enthusiastic, energised, passionate and committed PMO leads; building collaborative partnerships; and aligning with strategic imperatives is what was needed to successfully introduce project management as a profession in the NHS.

As the UK’s largest employer with a multitude of complex challenges and changes happening across the country, in hundreds of independently run organisations, with differing levels of complexity and skills required – coordinating the development of project management as a consistent, standardised, structured career within the NHS was never going to be easy or straightforward. It might even come as a surprise to you that it didn’t already exist.

In this session, Jo Stanford shares the journey she and the team have been taking over the last couple of years to make this a reality. It’s a story that covers building an alliance of like-minded professionals across hundreds of organisations across the breadth of England, along with key delivery partners to collectively design and implement the programme.

It aims to deliver – competency and capability frameworks, communities of practice, workforce development through apprenticeships and learning programmes, standardising the 18,000+ individual job titles, regional networks to support capability development and improve diversity, and the systems and processes for the operational management of the profession.

Using digital virtual working spaces to create an environment to work collaboratively to implement the plan, the PMOs have taken the role of driving the development of delivery capability for the NHS.

This session gives some great insights on what happens when you do this at-scale.


Your Takeaways

Gain insights into the steps taken to create and build a project management profession within a complex system.
Takeaway insights from the large-scale approach that are adaptable for your organisation – no matter how large or small.
Find out what type of PMO makes something like this happen – what skills and behavioural approaches are a necessity.
About Simon Harwood

Simon Harwood has been with DirectLine Group since late 2018, and is currently entrusted with running the Enterprise Portfolio Office.

Simon has worked within Financial Services for his entire career, including for Tier 1 Investment Banks, software vendors, the and London Stock Exchange Group. He had performed a diversity of roles across a broad range of functions and businesses, with the last decade being focused on leading Portfolio functions.

Simon has a passion for the continual evolution of himself, the teams he is a member of, as well as providing support to people to enable them to realise their ambitions.

As well as enjoying time with his family, Simon spends a significant amount of what spare time he has involved with cricket, including being the player & coach development manager for a district in Kent.



Enterprise Level PMO Relationships


A critical part of the on-going evolution of the enterprise level portfolio PMO at Direct Line into a more dynamic proposition for the business, has been the development of the relationships and alliances that the team has across the organisation.

The successful role of a Head of Enterprise PMO relies heavily on the relationships formed; within the PMO; within the change functions; and throughout the organisation.

In this session, Simon talks about how the evolution of the PMO started at home with his line management role for the PMO. He covers the wider topography of the PMO with relationships in central, dispersed and embedded teams. Next comes the approaches to relationship-building across the change function and the different stakeholders.

Finally, there is the wider enterprise, for many enterprise level PMOs, the relationship with the finance department has often held the key for successful portfolio management and Simon covers the closer integration that the PMO has achieved here, plus other departments such as risk and audit.

With a PMO at the enterprise level, the success often comes from understanding how the behaviours, needs, and even agendas of others can impact outcomes – uncovering lessons from building and maintaining relationships can help PMO Managers really blend the art and science of the role to become a leader that achieves the goals.

Your Takeaways

Insights into relationship management at the enterprise PMO level.
PMO leadership lessons across embedded and dispersed teams.
How to build a closer and integrated relationship with the finance team.
About Mark Wilcock

Mark is an independent consultant and trainer. He specialises in the analysis, visualisation and reporting of data.

He is the organiser of the London Business Analytics group, a popular community group.  Topics such as machine learning, data visualisation, ethics of big data, personalised medicine and climate change are covered. Mark is a regular speaker at conferences on data sciences, machine learning and data visualisation. 

He has also won Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for the last two years on the Data Platform and Power BI. He holds an MA In Natural Science from Cambridge University and a MBA from Imperial College, London.



Getting Started Analysing & Visualising Data With Power BI

The Best Introduction for the PMO You Could Have

This session is for people who want to get started analysing and visualising their data with Power BI, a very popular tool from Microsoft. It provides a specific learning plan and very practical advice to get started and improve your skills. We will provide some carefully curated tutorials and helpful resources, to get you from zero to hero with Power BI in a short time – and learn all this for free.  We will show you first how to visualise your data, then how to transform your data into a good shape so you can analyse it better.  Finally, if you want to become a real expert in Power BI, we’ll show you the resources to learn data modelling and write calculations.

We will make available all the tutorials – the datasets, instruction guides and worked examples during the session.

The original strapline for Power BI was “5 minutes to wow” so we’ll try and wow you with our demos. We’ll look at the share prices of oil companies, ask which passengers survived the Titanic and why, and marvel at the fleeting fashions in baby names in England over the last century.

Your Takeaways

Learn how to get started with this fun and engaging practical session
Leave feeling inspired and raring to go, ready to experiment with a new world of compelling visuals
Gain access to the practical resources to help you get started back in the workplace
About Alison Moore

Alison has spent her entire career in the field of Project, Programme and Portfolio Management, spanning a variety of industries and sectors, both in the UK and the US.  She is a huge advocate for the great benefit which the discipline of PPM can bring to any organisation…and has enjoyed demonstrating this in several organisations who didn’t initially think they needed it 🙂

She is currently the Director of Programme Management and PMO for Home Group – a national housing association, house builder and care service provider headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Having joined in November 2016, Alison has established an Enterprise PMO to lead the portfolio of strategic change programmes and projects which align to, and enable, the corporate objectives.

Throughout her career, Alison has found that her degree in Psychology and her genuine interest in people, and what makes them tick, has come in extremely useful …. At the end of the day the success, or failure, of any organisation, department or project is ultimately down to the people.

Winning Hearts and Minds – Overcoming Legacy PMOs

“You do realise this will be our fourth PMO and the others didn’t end well, so why will this one be any different?”

The central enterprise PMO function at the heart of Home Group’s change operations recently won an APM award for contribution to the profession in the not-for-profit category.

Who knew that would be on the horizon when the above was said to the newly recruited PMO Director during her first week, three years ago.

Regrouping and rebuilding to win hearts-and-minds with a new approach to supporting projects and programmes across the housing focused portfolio was urgently required.

It was never going to be an easy ride….from then: with a new 5 year strategy set and large change ambitions but a bruised and sceptical business, to now: with a flexible “PMO Wrapper” to foster collaborative working and a PMO Academy with career paths to attract, develop and retain the right project professionals.

Join Alison Moore, Director of Programme Management, as she reveals how the PMO gained “traction for action” and learn how the value of the PMO is found in the grey areas – between technical competency and relationships.

Your Takeaways

Learn about renewing and re-building a PMO within an organisation – practical insights on the route to take.
Discover the challenges and solutions to winning the hearts and minds of sceptical delivery teams and executives.
Understand what really makes a PMO valued.
About Philip Varney

Phil Varney has worked for the UK Civil Service for 17 years, across a number of roles in the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Phil has predominantly worked in the program and project management arena, as well as a stint as a senior commercial manager. Phil’s projects have included roles in Border Transformation, Counter-Terrorism and Youth Justice and currently, Legal Aid reform. He has worked in a number of project delivery roles, but has specialized in PMOs and governance. Phil is a senior member of MoJ’s Project Delivery Function, leading approach to developing and growing the PD profession in the UK Civil Service and is involved in developing the cross Government growth of the PMO community. Phill is currently the Lead Project Manager & Head of PPM, Access to Justice


About Hannah Rees

Hannah has worked in project management for 10 years. Having co-founded her own successful social enterprise whilst studying at University, she set up and managed portfolios of school and community initiatives whilst growing the business, spanning 7 years. In 2018, Hannah was named one of Grant Thornton’s ‘100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy’ amongst the UK’s 100 most innovative individuals and progressive leaders from across the private, not for profit and public sectors. Hannah joined the MOJ’s Project Delivery Function in 2019 as the Head of PMO for the Legal Aid Reform Portfolio. In this role, and as part of the Function’s PMO specialist group, Hannah is using her external experience to progress the growth of the intelligent PMO’s, in particular through bringing smarter and innovative approaches.

The Intelligent PMO at the Ministry of Justice

From a transactional PMO to an intelligent one.

The Ministry of Justice implemented a Project Delivery function two years ago as a fundamental part of growing the profession.

The function is an internal consultancy model, which puts people and project professionalism at the heart of delivering key government priorities.

As part of this, the MoJ is continuously developing and improving its people, products, guidance and approaches.

Within the PMO space specifically, MoJ is progressing from the historical transactional approach to a much more supportive, smarter, innovative, strategic and intelligent PMO model.

In this session we will understand how the PMO was originally structured and the main drivers for the change. With details shared on what constitutes an intelligent PMO, the different features and benefits; the lessons learnt and the difference it is making to the overall delivery strategy at the MoJ.

Finally we’ll gain insights into what the future holds, where next for an intelligent PMO.


Your Takeaways

Insights into repurposing a PMO for a transformed way of delivery change across the MoJ
Discover what an 'intelligent' PMO is and the steps to take to get there.
Insights into a flexible, strategic, analytical and digital approach to the PMO.
About Caroline Piper

Caroline currently manages a Programme Management Office within Jaguar Land Rover.  She has spent the last 10 years in PMO roles having previously held positions in IT Support, Operations, Project Management and Training in both the private sector (pharmaceuticals, automotive, hospitality) and central and local government. 

In addition to PRINCE2®, MSP®, P3O®, and MoR® qualifications, she has an MBA from Warwick Business School.  Using these as her reference points, she takes a pragmatic approach, tailored to the objectives of the organisation to deliver positive business outcomes.

Since 2015 she has managed the programme office for a complex 5-year programme of 30+ projects to transform an automotive global supply chain involving IT systems, construction, in-sourcing of people and third party logistic contract changes. She is now leading the creation of a portfolio framework for the aftermarket area of this global business.  As part of an overall drive to enhance project management core competencies within the business she has also recently developed and helped in the roll-out of an in-house project management course. 



The Initiation of a Portfolio Office from a Programme Office

How does portfolio management and the portfolio office in an organisation become to exist? In an ideal world and where many best practice and theories focus, is a top down process. With senior executive sponsorship existing from the outset with plenty of time and resources available to implement a structure, processes, tools and of course, bringing the people with you.

The reality is a little different and, in this session, Caroline shares the journey from programme management and the programme PMO to the inception of portfolio management and the new functional portfolio level PMO overseeing 30+ projects and programmes.

Caroline shares insights such as the trigger points for the change; the impacts of maturity; the links to operating models; the real practicalities of implementing portfolio management and the highs and lows of the PMO’s journey.

When there is an emerging organic growth of a portfolio management approach taking place, find out about how the PMO drives the formal ratification and getting it to a more formalised place where it can demonstrate added value.

Your Takeaways

Find out how the PMO can be an influencer and implementer of portfolio management
Learn about the pitfalls and successes experienced in developing an pragmatic approach
Discover how a PMO can continue to add value beyond the initial portfolio creation in an organisation facing unprecedented external challenges
About Emma White

Emma has worked for several years managing PMOs, currently working as the Head of PMO for OpenGi – a business technology and advanced insurance software organisation.

Emma always runs her own business focused on Coaching, Leadership and Behaviours – it’s her passion for people, behaviour and strategy which she always uses as a basis for her PMO work.

Emma is a professional qualified coach.


The PMO at the Forefront – Driving a Coaching Mentality

In an increasingly VUCA world, there is a need for leadership that is fit-for-purpose and that can work the adaptive space between today and what the future needs to be for an organisation to survive and thrive.

At the heart of the challenge is generating communication, openness, and resilience right across organisations that assist leaders to sense and to respond to internal and external shifts, the pace and magnitude of which are increasing.

Relationships are vital in fostering and supporting those conversations and whilst widely seen as essential to a coaching practice, are also essential to enabling functions such as the PMO. The PMO are in prime position to drive cultural change, and there is a huge advantage to combining a coaching methodology and approach, with the PMO’s approach to change.

Emma shares her own experiences from the PMO and this session will introduce real coaching concepts; insights in resilience; steps to combining coaching practices and a growth mindset with the PMO’s strategy to ultimately build and foster an innovative PMO at the forefront of change.

Emma focuses on how practices are used within the PMO itself and in supporting the wider delivery teams and executives. Introducing a framework; killer questions; key metrics and methods, it’s these practical aspects that make introducing a coaching mentality more achievable and an ongoing success.

The session will be run as an information session but with an element of practical exercises to demonstrate the different concepts and to help you visualise how you can implement these takeaways to your PMO and business.


Your Takeaways

Useable coaching practices and approaches to use within the PMO team and with the wider delivery organisation.
Practical takeaways to get you started back at your workplace.
Learn how driving a coaching mentality helps drive a step change in the relationships the PMO fosters and builds. It’s also brilliant for your own PMO career development.
About Nicola Young

Having been a project practitioner in the UK civil service for over 20 years, Nicola has extensive experience across a range of project roles. Managing a PMO supporting a portfolio of programmes and projects delivered using a mixture of project management methodologies, provided the opportunity to develop these experiences and commence an academic learning journey. After graduating with an MSc in Project Management four years ago, academic interest in project governance was piqued and research continued in this area by embarking on a part-time PhD.
Being four-years into my PhD, Nicola is ready to share some of the initial findings with fellow PMO professionals.


Applying Academic Findings to PMO Ways of Working: A Practitioner’s View


The session will convert the past eight years of research findings into practical steps for PMO professionals.

Nicola will demonstrate through the building of a conceptual model how academic theory and practitioner experience can be brought together to develop an effective governance framework and approach.

By combining theory and practice, Nicola will show how the PMO team can secure buy-in to governance through good stakeholder engagement and clear communications. The session will also explore how critical supportive, capable leadership sitting outside of the project is in ensuring project success and provide some ideas for developing these relationships.

Throughout the presentation, Nicola will discuss the research approach, the techniques and methods used to gather data, the personal benefits gained from the ongoing challenge, including how she has applied and disseminated the findings in her day-to-day work and the benefits of that.

Nicola will also share how she balances  academic studies with a full-time project delivery role and encourage you to do the same!

Your Takeaways

An easy to use technique in the form of a conceptual model to develop a governance framework and approach based on academic theory and practitioner experience.
Presentation of outcomes of recent, empirical research focusing on stakeholder engagement, communications, and leadership to secure project success.
How to use the research methods and findings in day-to-day work, including the practical application of learning through teaching others.
About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth Harrin, FAPM, is an author and mentor who helps project managers and their teams get more done with less stress. She does that through straight-talking, real-world advice, based on her 20 years in project management roles.

Elizabeth has written 5 books about project management: Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World (which was a finalist in the Management Book of the Year Awards 2014 and now in its second edition), Collaboration Tools for Project Managers, Communicating Change, Project Manager, and Customer-Centric Project Management. She is currently working on a new book on stakeholder engagement which will be out in 2020.

She also writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. You can find Elizabeth online at or on Twitter @girlsguidetopm.

Elizabeth holds degrees from the University of York and Roehampton University. She supports project managers through her mentoring programme, Project Management Rebels, and also contributes to a variety of other initiatives including sitting on the advisory board for the RISE Being Lean and Seen programme at Liverpool John Moores University.

Elizabeth has led a variety of IT, process improvement and business change projects including an ERP deployment and compliance initiatives. She spent eight years working in financial services (including two based in Paris, France) and 12 years in healthcare.

The PMO’s Guide to Stakeholder Engagification: How to Get People To Take Action on Projects

We’ve moved away from stakeholder management as a concept, and now the practitioner’s focus should be on stakeholder engagement.

 This presentation will look at the differences between management and engagement in a project-led environment, and provide practical tips for “doing” engagement and encouraging participation through game mechanics.

Gamification gets people to take action through the techniques and mechanics of games.

We’ll look at the 5 principles of using engagement + gamification that can be used in your PMO to support stakeholders’ engagement with project work.

  1. Track your steps
  2. Take small actions
  3. Create feedback loops
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Make it special

These principles encourage participation and make it easy and fun for people to want to work with us.

This presentation is aimed at PMO practitioners in a Project Office setting who want to know more about:

  • how to support project managers with stakeholder engagement in their projects
  • how to drive up engagement in their own activities, with their own stakeholders (predominantly the relationship with project managers).

Your Takeaways

Understand why engagement matters over management, in all project and PMO activities
Understand what gamification means in the context of the PMO
Understand the 5 principles of engagement + gamification (“engagification”) and how these can be used on projects to drive participation from stakeholders

More Sessions Released Soon

Keep checking back for more sessions being announced.

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