Interview with Frédéric Casagrande


Bridging the Gap: Reflections on PMOs
Today and Tomorrow

Interview with Frédéric Casagrande

PMO Expert
Winner of the Europe PMO Leader of the Year Awards 2021

Interviewed by Yasmina Khelifi
International Correspondent, PM World Journal
Paris, France

Introduction to the interviewee

Frederic Casagrande started his Project Management career in 1997. As a Board Member of the PMI® PMO Community of Practice, he took part in the launch of the PMO Symposium that he chaired in 2011 and 2012 and served as a Judge for the PMI® PMO of the Year award in 2013, as a Judge for the PMO Global Alliance PMO Global Awards in 2018 and 2020. Since 2007, he focused his career on setting up, developing and operating Program Management Offices in various industries (Telecommunications, Real Estate, Theme Parks, Airports, Defense, BPO, Nuclear Energy). He is also a prominent public speaker and has delivered many acclaimed keynotes on Project Management, PMOs and Strategy Execution since 2008.


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Q1:     First of all, thank you for accepting an interview request from PMWJ. Could you explain the role of a PMO?  Are there local definitions of PMOs? For instance, in France some of the PMOs I know are junior colleagues, not technical and it looks more an administrative role.

Frédéric Casagrande (Casagrande):   This may sound like an easy question, but the answer is slightly more complex than you would think. I have always been a firm believer that there are two types of PMOs: “Yours” and “Not Yours”. In other words, when defining what a PMO is, people are generally defining what THEIR PMO is. But if I had to try and formulate a generic definition of the term, I would say that it is a tool for an organization to maximize the value of project and program management practices. And exactly as it sounds, it will manifest in many different forms, depending on each organization’s requirements.

The acronym “PMO” itself can mean so many different things: For some, it stands for “Project Management Officer” and represents an individual’s role, but it usually refers to an organizational unit, like “Project Management Office”. Even then, the “P” can mean “Program”, or “Portfolio”. Some organizations may have a totally different name for that unit, although the role remains similar.

Unfortunately, due to this very loose definition, there is a common misconception that “PMO” equals only “Project Support”, as you alluded to. In reality, there is much more to it. As an example, in my current organization, the PMO personnel are all seasoned, qualified and certified Projects and Programs Managers, who – among other things – coach and mentor other practitioners in the whole organization.

Q2:  How did you become PMO?

Casagrande:     In 1997, I started one of the first web agencies in Alsace, France. It took me a couple of years to put a label on what I was doing and to realize that I had become a Project Manager. In 2006, I joined PMI® and became a member of the PMO Specific Interest Group, where I met other individuals sharing that passion for everything that was above and beyond just managing a Project or a Program.


To read entire interview, click here

How to cite this interview: Khelifi, Y. (2021). Bridging the Gap: Reflections on PMOs

Today and Tomorrow: Interview with Frédéric Casagrande, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue XI, November. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/pmwj111-Nov2021-Khelifi-Interview-with-Frederic-Casagrande.pdf

About the Interviewer

Yasmina Khelifi 

Paris, France


Yasmina Khelifi, PMP, PMI- ACP, PMI-PBA is an experienced project manager in the telecom industry. Along with her 20-year career at Orange S.A. (the large French multinational telecommunications corporation), she sharpened her global leadership skills, delivering projects with major manufacturers and SIM makers. Yasmina strives for building collaborative bridges between people to make international projects successful. She relies on three pillars: project management skills, the languages she speaks, and a passion for sharing knowledge.

She is a PMP certification holder since 2013, a PMI- ACP and PMI-PBA certification holder since 2020. She is an active volunteer member at PMI France and PMI UAE, and a member of PMI Germany Chapter. French-native, she can speak German, English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and she is learning Arabic. Yasmina loves sharing her knowledge and experiences at work, in her volunteers’ activities at PMI, and in projectmanagement.com as a regular blogger. She is also the host and co-founder of the podcast Global Leaders Talk with Yasmina Khelifi to help people in becoming better international leaders.

Yasmina can be contacted at https://yasminakhelifi.com/ or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yasminakhelifi-pmp-telecom/

Visit her correspondent profile at https://pmworldlibrary.net/yasmina-khelifi/