Our Programme Management Office (PMO) is the driving force behind some of the biggest change projects affecting the future of NFU Mutual. The team is responsible for guiding and supporting a wide portfolio of work, from projects valued at just over £1million to projects approaching £150 million - which naturally creates both great projects to be part of, and access to interesting career routes. We asked the team to tell us about what they do and the opportunities for progression.

Delivering continuous improvement
So, what exactly does the PMO team do? Before we delve into the projects and career routes, we asked some of the team to briefly cover how they see the work they do. For Senior PMO Analyst Rosie Watson-Walsh, the scope of the PMO team is wide. “It’s essentially a support function for project management. We’re looking after things such as governance, making sure that we're adhering to our change framework and that all the project managers are aware of the expectations from a central perspective. We also look after the budgets, the risks and issues and change control. It’s all about continuous improvement, looking at how we can offer a better service to our project managers.”

Louise Hadley, who is a Senior Project Analyst, also sees the team performing a variety of roles within NFU Mutual projects. “We’re here to provide structure, to make sure that we’re adhering to all the change framework governance that's been set up by group change, and to make sure that projects stick to their timeframe and scope. We're also quite heavily involved with risk management, as well as managing the budget and making sure that things don’t go off track.”

A diversity of roles
The PMO team work on a wide variety of projects. As such, there’s a number of different roles and skill sets that make up the team, as Rosie explains. “There are PMO admins, who do the project admin side, and then we have analysts and senior PMO Analysts, which is my role, who are at a more strategic level.”

In addition, the projects also require Change Analysts, such as Cristiana Popa, who describes what her role involves. “I’m a Senior Change Analyst. I started in the PMO team, but then progressed to my current role where I oversee our business resource utilisation across the portfolio of projects, looking at the resources forecast by projects, and the capacity we have from business areas.”

Career progression opportunities
Career progression is an important aspect of any team. Recent starter, David Askill, is excited by the potential of the opportunities that lie ahead, as he explains. “I’ve been with NFU Mutual for just under a year, joining as a PMO Analyst. For me, coming from a regional law firm, it’s the size of this business that makes the difference. It’s not just the PMO team, but also the size of group change. I think this is a key factor in providing us with more than linear movement. For example, in other businesses, if you're a PMO Assistant, you then become a Project Manager or Programme Manager. At NFU Mutual you can explore other avenues that pique your interest. So, if you’re interested in milestones, or resources, or finances, you can potentially look to move into that side of things.”

Compared to David, Rosie has a 10-year track record with NFU Mutual that’s taken her from PMO Admin to her current role as Senior PMO Analyst on the Bridge Programme. Rosie talks through the options as she sees them. “There’s the traditional kind of career path from a PMO perspective, the admin to the analyst to the senior analyst, but within the wider group change, there's also a lot of other progression options. We have a project management group, so some analysts or senior analysts have taken a sideways move into more of the actual project management, which is a career path that's really supported here. There’s a fast-track PMO scheme that quite a few of our analysts have been on and been successful in. We also have a portfolio management team and a central change analysis team too, which is the equivalent of the analyst role but within the central function. There are a lot of opportunities in terms of job shadowing and secondments too.” And Cristiana adds “I also feel if you have the ambition to progress and want to take a more varied career path, the steps are laid out for you, you just have to take them. If you really want to do something, there's always an option and there's always somebody who can help you.”

Learning from skills within the team
A variety of change programmes calls for a variety of skill sets, which many of the PMO team see as an advantage in terms of exposure to different specialisms, as Louise explains. “You get good exposure on projects and programmes as a PMO. You can work with different departments that you wouldn't normally work with. You get involved in a bit of everything as PMO which gives you a chance to have a look around to see how other departments operate. You also have a really wide network as a PMO. You move around the business on different projects. You're often supporting quite senior stakeholders too.”

Cristiana has also enjoyed the exposure to different types of activities. “When you work with so many people you learn from their experience and the way they do things, you always pick up on something new. You always learn a lot from the different ways that people manage their work. This is a big benefit in the PMO space.” And those with the different skills are only too pleased to offer their expertise, as Senior PMO Analyst Katie Noble found out. “The requirements on each project and programme can be completely different. That means that within the PMO Analyst role or within the team, there are skills and expertise from different areas that you can call on - and people are always happy to help if you need that.”

Join us on our journey
We have a variety of opportunities in our Programme Management Office. Take a look at our latest vacancies or sign up for job alerts by email.