24 PM NETWORK FEBRUARY 2017 WWW.PMI.ORG
Voices CAREER Q&A
and more on
Working at a portfolio level involves more than just technical
skills. Also: Master the art of video interviews.
By Lindsay Scott
associated with great portfolio PMO leaders. It’s
never too soon to focus on your managerial style;
we tend to neglect such behavioral and softer skills
when focusing on professional development.
The bottom line: When it comes to taking a step
up the career ladder like this, focus less on technical project management knowledge and more on
leadership skills—inspiring others to perform well.
I have to do a video interview as part of a job
application. Any advice?
Whether it’s a live or pre-recorded interview, the
best remedy for giving it your best shot is simple:
practice, practice, practice. The interview prepara-
tion you carry out for normal, in-person interviews
still applies—be prepared to detail the relevant
experiences and skills that position you for success.
But during video interviews, what you say can
mean less than the overall impression you give
through facial expressions, body language and
even your backdrop. So make sure that you have
the right technological setup: a decent camera and
microphone and lighting that literally shows you
in the best light. Also know how you’ll appear on
camera from the waist up. Dress well (and avoid
I’ve been a PMO manager for years and want to progress further into portfolio-level PMOs, getting involved in strategy execution at a more senior level. What do I need to consider to
make this transition?
As you know, there are many types of project
management offices (PMOs), so the transition you
make will largely depend on the culture, context
and type of services provided by your PMO. It will
also depend on the type of management-level skills
you’ve been providing in your existing PMO and
your experience prior to that. Finally, it depends
on your own ambition, personality and interpersonal skills. If we take a look at those, we can start
to see how they will impact your transition plans.
It’s important that your current PMO experience builds a knowledge base relatable to portfolio management functions and services, such as
investment appraisals, prioritization and enterprise
resource management. A portfolio management
role like this also requires much more business
knowledge and experience than what’s needed in
a “doing the projects right” kind of PMO. Reading PMI’s Thought Leadership Series on portfolio
management and pursuing the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)® certification can help
To develop business experience, your transition
plan could involve stepping away from a PMO
entirely for a few years to gain wider management
and strategy-related experience. And if you don’t
have direct project delivery experience, that might
be worth gaining for a few years. Perhaps a sec-ondment to another business operations department might be an option, too.
But you also should develop strong leadership
skills to make this transition—the ability to hold
your own, navigate organizational politics and
manage others firmly but fairly. These skills are