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Interview | Pragmatic PMO | How to run Projects, Programmes and Portfolios

Hello Ken. How are you? What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently available for new opportunities!… but until quite recently I was providing PMO delivery support services to a multi-year, multi-site, multi-million pound fit-out-and-move programme.

Is that the type of work Pragmatic PMO often delivers?

My most common type of engagement involves me going into an organisation that has appointed an operational manager to direct a strategic programme. In this situation, the programme director is fine with the business knowledge, but needs support with project and programme management. I typically take care of the heavy lifting, and set them up with firm foundations based on established project management techniques.

I spend some time reviewing the programme and discussing with the programme director what elements of programme infrastructure they need most and soonest. I agree cost / time boxes using the service list as a prioritised backlog, and incrementally deliver items from it to get the programme up and running on sound project or programme management foundations.

“When Pragmatic PMO was engaged, we had no project management function or framework to support the programme. Pragmatic PMO implemented just enough project management fundamentals and discipline to enable the programme to robustly deliver some fantastic outcomes for the client. If you are looking for strategic programme delivery support services that you can actually lean on, Pragmatic PMO should be at the top of your list.”

Mark Ferguson, Programme Director

Awesome Quote. Is everything easy? How do you overcome challenges?

I’ve had some challenges with implementing things like streamlined reporting and collaboration tools, which I usually overcome by making sure the objecting party knows what’s in it for them, and is able to use the solution to fully extract the benefits.

What aspect of Pragmatic PMO are you most proud of?

I am quite proud of my book, Learning lessons from projects, which took me a year to write and which has been well-received (take a look at the reviews on Amazon). I’m also pretty proud of the difference we make to the way the programmes we get involved with are delivered.

What did you do before Pragmatic PMO?

Before this I was a project manager, and before that I was research and development engineer.

Why did you start Pragmatic PMO?

I work in the PMO arena now because I enjoy being in the change environment, but my skills are better suited to helping other people deliver projects than they are to me delivering those projects myself.

What do you do to relax?

Outside work, I’m a rubbish (but enthusiastic) musician. I also enjoy DIY, and have combined these two areas by making a five string fretless electric bass guitar, and an electro-acoustic mandolin – both from scratch. And the bass without any plans. I enjoy food and drink, and have recently taken up running (alright then, more like jogging) to get some exercise.

What do you see as the next phase for Pragmatic PMO?

I am currently in the process of moving my business away from day rate contracting towards fixed price consulting, which I think should make it more resilient to the kind of disruption we have recently seen.

As you might expect I’m inclined to agree – (see 6prog for a milestones SoW) Great to catch up Ken!

For more on Pragmatic PMO please reach Ken in 6prog or at