SC-IPMO (Services and Capabilities) International PMO Certification

Case for Action

Organizations often make the fundamentally crucial decision on whether to establish a functional (inward-looking) or a service orientated (outward-looking) PMO; without fully analyzing the potential consequences. This simple, but a long-lasting decision, greatly impacts both PMO success and project success, which in turn impacts organizational success.

Figure 1: Functional or Service focused PMOs

 Inward-looking PMOs are perceived by the people they serve (in projects, programs and portfolios), to have operational mindsets, with  which reflects in what they do and how they do it. For example, inward-looking PMOs are more likely to talk about low impact items such as filling out forms, templates, and project administration activities. However, Even when these inward-looking PMOs that do  carry out more value-added activities such as reporting, issue management or change management, they are more likely viewing these activities from a procedural hands-off perspective. However, theanoutward-looking service oriented PMOs who will strive to understand a project’s dynamics,; why things are happening and then take the appropriate actions.  Inward-looking PMOs’ interest/power levels are likely to be too low to support and institutionalize the core AIPMO PMO principles across the organization unlike outward-looking PMOs (Roden, Joslin, and Müller 2017). Inward-looking PMOs are also unlikely to achieve higher levels of PMO maturity due to the above reasons.

Figure 2 shows AIPMO’s principle-based ‘PMO Maturity Model’ that has been developed by AIPMO’s research division. It shows that inward-looking PMOs often fail to reach the ‘ideas and innovation zone’, where the greatest potential organizational impact is made (Kaul and Joslin 2018a).

Figure 2: AIPMO’s Principle based PMO Maturity Model with an inflection point

 In the project world, there is an increasing interest in the term ‘Agile’ including Agile in the context of PMOs. AIPMO believes that the interest in Agile with respect to PMOs is in two areas:

  1. PMOs that service projects using agile methodology(s)
  2. The way PMOs should operate i.e., efficiently and effectively, so in an agile-like way.

For the second point above, AIPMO has termed Agile in the context of PMOs as ‘The Spirit of Agile’ because PMOs do not do ‘sprints’. However, they do need to be ‘Agile’ in the sense of the time to offer new services and the types of services they offer. Service-focused PMOs are most likely to create the  greatest impact in terms of PMO Success, PMO Performance, PMO Benefits and Value compared to inward-looking PMOs (Kaul and Joslin 2018b)., 

For service-oriented PMOs to be able to create a solid foundation and thrive, increasing their indirect and direct impact on organizational performance, then they must ensure the success factors are in place throughout their PMO lifecycles. One of the PMO success factors is a ‘structured service-orientated approach’ to select, design, build, operate and transform/retire services i.e. AIPMO’s PMO Services Lifecycle FrameworkTM shown in figure 3. This framework provides the structure and is core to this course.

 ThServices and Capabilities Specialists supporting the PMO managers are typically focused on the PMO Services, whilst the PMO managers are focused on building their PMOs, leading them to pay more attention  and therefore more focusedon  to the PMO Lifecyle FrameworkTMFor tThe Services and Capabilities Specialists who are directly supporting their PMO directors, will typically take the lead to design an enterprise-wide PMO Services topology along with an active role in co-designing the PMO enterprise-wide PMO topology.

Figure 3: AIPMO: PMO Services Lifecycle FrameworkTM

Course Overview

An engaging training program, focusing on a pragmatic and practical approach to deliver a series of principles, concepts, frameworks, service topologies and capabilities to give unique and new insights into a service-oriented view of Enterprise-wide PMOs.

This certification course seeks to equip the participants with a clear method to understand the necessary depth of the topic so they can maximize their value to their organization and create an Enterprise-wide PMO Service strategy (including an Enterprise-wide PMO Services topology) with its underlying services. The course will also cover the piloting, implementing, running and, when necessary, transforming/retiring of one or more services.

AIPMO’s integrated frameworks will be covered to ensure a contextual positioning of the PMO Services, especially at the enterprise level.

Throughout the program, references will be made to the participants’ environment to encourage discussions that can help to address and/or put perspective to participants’ daily challenges, ‘grounding the theory’ and making it practically useful. The course is a mixture of teacher/instructor lead and participative activities where the delegates engage in interactive exercises. If time permits, cutting-edge research will be discussed for example: AIPMO’s research-driven PMO principle-based maturity model where one of the maturity dimensions relates to PMO Services.

This is a unique course and will provide insights that have never been shared before as they will be part of the upcoming AIPMO book on PMO Services and Capabilities. The attendees will be able to share and discuss ideas based on new knowledge.

Who Should Attend

  • PMO Directors needing to understand how to create the PMO Enterprise-wide service offer which is a part of the AIPMO Strategic framework (also contains the Enterprise PMO Topology)
  • PMO Managers, PMO team members, and Project managers wishing to understand how to create PMO Services following AIPMOs PMO Service Lifecycle framework TM
  • Any senior project stakeholder wishing or needing to be part of a project team and understand/take the lead on supporting the development of PMO Services
  • Consultants and other professionals who need to deepen their knowledge
  • PMO Sponsors, who would like to learn more about how to increase the value of their PMOs and directly benefit their role and their peers in the organization

Course Objectives

  1. Understand the link between services oriented PMOs and PMO Success
  2. Spot the traits and determine root causes of poorly structured PMOs
  3. Understand the impact a PMO Services and Capabilities expert can have on PMO Success
  4. Know how to apply the AIPMO PMO Services Lifecycle Framework
  5. Understand how to design an Enterprise-wide PMO Services topology
  6. Know the key PMO Services documentation as part of the PMO Services Lifecycle Framework.

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze how to apply the AIPMO PMO Services Lifecycle Framework in your organization
  • Debate how to support the PMO manager and/or director in creating a PMO Services strategy including a PMO Services topology
  • Assess and describe how to create PMO Service SLAs
  • Propose how to create and manage the PMO Services catalog
  • Explain how to coach and mentor people on the AIPMO service-oriented approach to PMOs
  • Describe how to run one or more PMO Services
  • Articulate how to contribute to increasing PMO maturity from the PMO Services dimension.

What You Need to Know


Classroom training: 2 days


The training approach includes:

  • Short and focused theory blocks
  • Realistic team exercises
  • Group discussions on pertinent topics
  • Analysis of information and presentations of conclusions
  • Realistic role plays
  • Personal coaching (if time allows)
  • Exam – 1 hour with 50 multiple choice questions
  • Discussing the exam answers


  • 1 years’ plus experience in project and/or program management
  • Ideally a formal PM/PMO certification such as IPMO-F, IPMO-P, PMI’s CAPM, PMP, APM PMQ or  Prince 2 Practitioner
  • Attendees should have a good working knowledge of project management processes, tools, and techniques
  • Educated to degree level or similar

Certification Exam

  • An exam is given at the end of the course moderated by the instructor
  • Open book exam: 50 multiple choice questions
  • Duration 1 hour

Course Modules