PMR Interview with Peter Taylor


PMOs Are Applicable to All Scales of Project Business

Interview with Peter Taylor

Author, Advisor, Speaker, Trainer
Author of The Lazy Project Manager and other books

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan
Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)
International Correspondent, PM World Journal


Introduction to the interviewee

Peter Taylor is a speaker, author and trainer. His publication includes The Lazy Project Manager (an Amazon bestseller in the field of project management), Making Your Business Agile, The Thirty-Six Stratagems, Leading Successful PMOs, The Presentation on Presentations, The Project Manager Who Smiled, etc.

As a speaker, he is described as “perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today”. He has made presentations to tens of thousands in nearly 30 countries.

He is also an experienced senior Program / PMO and transformation specialist with the ability to define overarching priorities and ensure project and program activity satisfies high level business objectives. His key strengths include: embedding robust governance to ensure successful delivery of £multi-million change programs and working with stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle to ensure delivery of tangible business benefits; introducing best practice processes aligned with an organisation’s culture and maturity. Working across multiple industries including Manufacturing, Health, Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, Aerospace and Finance.

Peter Taylor is based in the United Kingdom, but has readers, followers and fans worldwide.  Learn more about Peter at http://thelazyprojectmanager.com/peter-taylor

Note: This is my 2nd interview with Peter Taylor and this one is focused on the topic of PMO. Link to the first interview with Peter Taylor http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/Home/article/detail/id/478.html


Part I – Definition and role of PMOs

Q1.      Do you think it is necessary that every organization has a PMO?

Peter Taylor (Taylor):         It all depends on what you might mean by ‘PMO’. It is a lovely three-letter acronym, but it can many things to many people, and often with vastly different purposes.

That said, if we consider a ‘PMO’ (decide what that ‘P’ means in your own organisation – project, program, portfolio, people, product…) is about overseeing change, then all organisations can benefit from scale of PMO to help the agents of change be successful.

Q2.      You mean that PMOs are also applicable to small companies?

Taylor:      So how small are we talking? How about ‘one’? Can the sole project manager also be the whole PMO? Well not really in truth, because a sole project manager cannot act like a PMO of many people since they can’t act objectively with regards to their own project performance and they can’t spend time investing in self-development and in method improvements and so on.

So not ‘one’ then. Can a PMO be implemented in a small company that has limited resources, a small team of project managers only – perhaps two or three? Well perhaps not a ‘PMO’ as such but certainly a virtual equivalent with shared responsibility of some of the basic PMO functions that could be allocated to the remaining project resources – perhaps one person could focus on the training of project managers, another on method enhancements, and another on community aspects, etc. In this way, a lot of PMO duties could be delivered to a reasonably high level.

I think a PMO can be applicable to all scales of project business, but it might not be a permanent, dedicated unit, but more of a ‘part-time PMO’. The biggest risk to such a PMO is the ability to offer the objective insight and support to all project managers, and the business. The smaller the team, the harder it may be to do this in a constructive, objective, non-emotional, positive way – not everyone has the skill to do this and with a close team of peers, it isn’t always easy to do (or easy to receive at times).

Q3.      How do you define a PMO?


To read entire interview, click here

Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: Yanjuan, Y. (2019). PMOs Are Applicable to All Scales of Project Business: Interview with Peter Taylor; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/pmwj106-Jun2021-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Peter-Taylor.pdf

About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China


Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review (PMR) Magazine and website. She has interviewed over sixty top experts in the field of project management. Before joining PMR, she once worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in training centers in Beijing. Beginning in January 2020, Spring also serves as an international correspondent for the PM World Journal.

For work contact, she can be reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.

To view other works by Spring, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/yu-yanjuan/