How To Survive as a PMO Analyst – And Why You Should Do It
The role of a PMO Analyst
PMO analyst is a position that is in high demand in today’s business world. If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding role, look no further than becoming a PMO analyst. As a PMO analyst, you must have strong analytical skills and knowledge of project management methodology. PMO Analysts may find themselves working on delivering a specific project and supporting the project manager. Project Support Officer is another name used for this type of PMO Analyst. More common, though, is the set-up where PMO Analysts are part of an Enterprise Project Management Office that supports delivery across a whole department or an entire organization.
PMO Analysts draw on a broad set of skills to enable the safe delivery of projects, including customer service skills, critical analysis, resource management, data assimilation and analysis, communication and presenting, influencing, and persuasion.
The role is a crucial support for Project Managers and PMO Managers, who depend on Analysts for coordination, planning, project reporting, and turning data and measures into actionable insights. This ensures that projects deliver promptly and effectively while meeting all organizational requirements. Furthermore, as a PMO analyst is often responsible for overseeing the project management process across an organization, you will be in charge of ensuring that projects are on track and meet all business objectives.
The difference between a PMO Analyst and a PMO Administrator
PMO stands for project management office. A PMO Analyst is the person who supports the project, program or portfolio manager and their team with delivery, as well as providing insight to the PMO Manager and the leadership team to allow them to make data-driven decisions. In addition, they work with the senior management and executives to review and approve projects. As a PMO Analyst, you need to have a high level of knowledge of PMO and Project management tools and processes. This means that you need to be proficient in project management software, project management processes, and project management terminology. One of the key responsibilities is providing education, training, and support on various business and project processes.
The PMO Analyst is vital in a company as it helps ensure that all projects are executed successfully and meet the organization’s requirements. But what happens if you don’t have the knowledge required, or if influencing, presenting, and persuading aren’t really your thing? Many PMO teams have a role known as a PMO Administrator or Junior PMO Analyst. Such roles have a lower expectation of prior knowledge and can be a great way of getting into the PMO on the ground floor. The main difference between the PMO Analyst role and the PMO Administrator role is that Analysts have a deeper knowledge of project processes and tools, the ability to train and influence others, and of course, the all-important ability to make sense of project data sets.
What are the benefits of having a PMO analyst in an organization?
PMO means project management office. As the job title suggests, this is an analyst role that supports project management across an organization. Why is this role so valuable?
For starters, it allows team members to focus on their goals and objectives without extraneous distractions. Project Managers are often tasked with delivering outcomes outside the usual company structures and frameworks. Such initiatives need their own ways of working and controls. Importantly they also need to be able to map the project world back to the culture and language of the rest of the organization. PMO Analysts are vital for bridging this gap. They help project managers understand business frameworks and processes and how to navigate them quickly.
In addition, a PMO analyst helps track and manage project performance metrics. They’re also responsible for facilitating communications and processes across the project management office. In short, having a PMO analyst in your organization is a great way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of project management.
How to survive as a PMO Analyst
PMO Analyst can be a high-pressure position that requires constant vigilance. To succeed in this role, you must multi-task, be willing to see things through to completion, and stay organized. Ensure you have the right tools and resources to succeed, including the right software and hardware. In addition, be passionate and curious about your work – if you are, you’ll be able to thrive in a PMO environment. While other analyst roles may focus squarely on the data, the PMO Analyst role also requires people and communication skills. There are many demands on your time, so it’s crucial to develop self-care habits. This will help you maintain focus and stay on top of your game. Here are our tips for surviving as a PMO Analyst:
Take time to understand the ‘Why?’
More junior roles may focus on crunching through the reports and cutting and pasting data. But as a PMO Analyst or Senior PMO Analyst, context is super important. Take time to understand the goals of your PMO’s organization and how the projects in your portfolio support those goals. Then take time to understand project managers’ and other stakeholders’ wants and needs. This broad understanding will help you differentiate yourself from an administrator because you will be better able to empathize and exercise professional judgment. It will also help you conduct critical analysis and make recommendations that balance the many competing needs of projects and the wider business.
Learn the shortcuts and embrace laziness.
No, I haven’t gone mad. You will be working with lots of different tools and analyzing a lot of information. To survive, you need to get through the administrative tasks quickly to free up more of your valuable time to help people and actually do some analysis. One of the best ways to do this is to learn the systems you are working with and their keyboard and menu shortcuts. Using these to rapidly switch between windows or manipulate data can save you time and increase your productivity. It would help if you also looked to reduce the ‘busy work.’
Look to the part of you that embraces laziness and use it as a valuable skill. For example, learning to create Excel Macros can save you hours per week on crunching data. More advanced tools such as Power Automate or RPA tools such as UiPath can also be applied to take care of repetitive work such as chasing reports, updating different systems, or converting data into other formats.
Take responsibility for your learning and development.
There is a view that says organizations should decide on the training you do. This is outdated. Modern careers span multiple businesses and ways of working. Even in junior roles, you are responsible for developing your skills. I would strongly advise you to be an active learner. Don’t wait to be booked on a course. Instead, identify your areas for improvement and seek out the materials you need to succeed. I recommend reading books (not just on PMO or Project Tools, but exploring general management too) and attending meetup groups such as PMO Flashmob or your local PMI Chapter. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions (your colleagues and peers in other departments will have a wealth of knowledge you can tap into).
Stay Organized and Prioritize.
In the PMO, it can seem as though there is a mountain of work and never enough time. To survive, you need to be organized, and you need to be able to prioritize. Set clear goals to help you stay focused and use personal to-do lists to maintain productivity. Timely execution is vital. In his book on procrastination, “Eat That Frog,” Brian Tracey advocates starting each day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.
Other techniques such as The Pomodoro Technique can help you improve focus and become more productive. Understanding your manager’s priorities is essential, as this will help you set your own. You may not be able to get everything done that you want to. Still, with a good prioritization strategy in place, you can be confident that you have invested in the right things for the PMO, projects, and the wider organization.
The Career path for PMO Analysts
PMO analysts are in high demand, and the pay is good. Becoming a PMO analyst is a great option if you’re ready for a challenging career that provides opportunities for growth. You will work with many different teams across the organization. Each of these interfaces opens a potential direction for the next step in your career.
There are many different routes that PMO analysts can take, so it’s important to research which one is best for you. For example, there are routes to management within the PMO, moving to PMO Manager and then PMO Director/ Head of PMO. I have also seen PMO Analysts move sideways into similar roles or related positions such as Product Management, Project Management, Finance, and Agile Coach.
Of course, not everyone wants to become a PMO Analyst only to move away from the role again. The PMO has you covered! For the experienced PMO Analyst, there are many Senior PMO Analyst roles out there that require deeper knowledge and experience while not forcing analysts down a managerial career path. These positions require strong analytical skills, a good understanding of PPM tooling, and knowledge of various delivery frameworks, including Agile PMO. This means being prepared to commit to a lot of personal development and learning to succeed. The pay is good, and the career offers plenty of growth opportunities. The career path in the PMO is long and full of possibilities. Don’t wait. Start researching now and discover the many routes that PMO analysts can take! If you know the direction you want to move in, consider finding yourself a mentor who can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a PMO analyst?
A PMO analyst is an individual who helps to manage and coordinate the management of projects within a company.
How do I become a PMO analyst?
You can become a PMO analyst through several routes. These include pursuing a degree in business administration or management. An alternative entry route is from working as a PMO administrator, data analyst, or project manager. Another increasingly common route is by completing a graduate-entry program.
What are some tips for being a successful PMO analyst?
Tips for being a successful PMO analyst include staying organized and staying focused. Other important considerations are prioritizing ruthlessly, learning to automate repetitive tasks, and developing a good understanding of project management methodology.
What are the challenges of being a PMO analyst?
The challenges of being a PMO analyst include ensuring that all project management activities are carried out effectively and efficiently whilst acting as a translator between the language of projects and the language of the business. Another critical challenge is ensuring projects and portfolios are aligned to the organization’s needs and remaining aligned with other tasks and initiatives happening on the broader portfolio.
The role of the PMO Analyst is a vital one to projects-driven organizations. However, with the growing demand for PMO services and an increasing amount of project tools to learn, the role of a PMO analyst has become increasingly challenging. For example, suppose job seekers want a successful career in PMO or the wider business. In that case, the PMO Analyst role offers a great experience and access to senior leaders and different business functions. But it does require an Analytical mindset, people skills, and an understanding of delivery frameworks.
This article explains the role of a PMO analyst, the benefits of having one in an organization, and the various career paths available to you. Read through the entire article to understand the role and how to thrive as a PMO analyst in today’s competitive environment.