This year’s PMI PMO Symposium was a fantastic event to attend again this year.  I have had the privilege of attending this event multiple times, but this year was a little different for me.  I was also being provided the opportunity this year to speak at the event.  This was my first year speaking at the PMI PMO Symposium, and it was a personal goal achieved.

This year’s event was focused on two key topics for both the Break Out Sessions, and the Knowledge Hub Sessions.

  1. Agile Transformation – This breakout session series was focused on the theme of Agile Transformation within the bsiness.  The were intended to help PMO Leaders focus on ways to assist in their organizational Agile Transformation efforts.  This was a key theme for the event this year, and was the focus of the 2017 PMI Thought Leadership Series “Achieving Greater Agility”.
  2. The Evolving PMO – The breakout session series was focused on the theme of the Evolving PMO.   To be effective, the PMO must continuously evolve and adapt to be relevant and deliver value. This breakout session series was intended to provide tips, techniques, and best practices on how a PMO can continuously improve to provide greater value.
  3. Knowledge Hub Discussions – This is becoming my favorite part of the Symposium. This year, there were more Knowledge Hubs than in previous years, and with a larger variety of topics discussed.  Knowledge Hubs are small groups (15 participants), that are focused on a specific theme, and your 1.5 hours is spent engaged in an interactive discussion with your peers on what works and what does not work in their personal engagements.  It is a much more intimate and self-directed conversation, and I personally think they are a lot of fun.  I had the privilege of hosting / facilitating a Knowledge Hub at this year’s event, and it was a highlight for me.

Overall, the Symposium is a great event, focused on PMO Leaders and providing solid educational opportunities for the three day event.  The Keynote speakers were great, with solid messages.  I really enjoyed Tony Scott’s presentation on Leading Change and Driving Innovation.

As always, attendees get first access to the PMI Thought Leadership Series Materials.  This year’s theme of “Achieving Greater Agility” provided us with three different reports and a number of companion pieces to review.

  1. The Vital Role of Culture and Commitment, written with KPMG, explores key factors that will help accelerate your organization’s transformation and offers a clear path to greater agility.
  2. The Essential Influence of the C-Suite, developed in collaboration with Forbes Insights, takes a closer look at the role the C-Suite can play in driving greater organization agility.
  3. The Critical Need for Cross-Functional Collaboration, examines the lines of business and how companies can create a culture that encourages innovation.

One other little nugget you find in your registration package, for the second year, is the PMO Quick Tip Guide.  This little pamphlet is a treasure trove of nuggets of wisdom for PMO Leaders.  The Leaders that put this together obviously spent time and shared their passion for our industry.

All of these materials are included in your symposium admission, and bring continuing value for years to come.

Being a part of your companies Agile Transformation will be a key opportunity for your PMO to increase its organizational value proposition, and to continue to deliver on the projects that help your organization succeed.

Obviously, for me there was the additional excitement and value of attending as a speaker.  I had the opportunity on Monday afternoon to lead a Break Out Session entitled “How to Use PMO Intake Processes to Manage Your Project Portfolio”.  It was well received, with between 85-100 people in attendance.  The 1-hour session ran about 1:45 as we stayed to answer questions, since there was no other session booked in our room.  If you are interested in this session topic, I have also provided the slide deck, and recorded Video on Demand of this session (recorded at another time), that you can follow here at PMforTODAY – CLICK HERE to access the video series, and CLICK HERE to download the presentation deck and speaker’s notes.

I was also provided with the opportunity to facilitate a Knowledge Hub Session. This session, titled “Evolving the PMO – How to Catapult Your PMO to the Next Level” was a highlight of my event.  We had 15-20 people in active attendance, and their engagement was incredible.  They started the conversations almost immediately after we got past our introductions, and we could have easily continued past the 1.5 hour time limit.  The group interacted so well, that I never had to move to my “conversation starters” to keep them discussing the topic.  It is my hope to have this opportunity in the future, as well as to continue to participate in the sessions, as that sense of conversation and team work is a highlight of the event.

For me, this event is always a great place to meet other members of the PMO Leadership community, as well as to develop new relationships.  The ability to download all presentations, slide decks and speakers’ notes allows you to gain a perspective and information from events that you did not get the opportunity to attend.

I can’t recommend this event enough.  I have attended for four of the last five years, and believe it has added value to my personal career every time.  It is my hope that I get to continue to participate in this event in the future, as both a speaker and an attendee.


Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.

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Don Clarke

Don Clarke

Co-Founder: Project Management for Today

As a Co-Founder of the website, Don Clarke has over 20  years of experience in the Project Management / Program Management space.  Having worked for a variety of companies over the last 20 years, he brings a strong base of knowledge in the industry.  Establishing or helping redefine multiple PMO's during this time, there is a unique perspective to his approach to developing the value of a Project Management Office (PMO), as well as his approach to leadership development within the organization.  Having been privileged to have multiple career defining mentoring experiences, Don realizes the importance of sharing that experience and giving back to the organizations where he is engaged.


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