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PMO Animal Attributes


PMO Animal Attributes


This is an Animal A to Z, useful for uncovering perceptions of PMOs.  

To date we have twelve examples.  Do join in with your own ideas and we will see how nearly we can complete the set of 26.  Send suggestions to me via Linkedin (in/davidshannonopm)or via email (  I will gladly edit, complete and upload.  Let me know if you would like to be credited.

These may be used in interviews, questionnaires or workshops, acknowledging this source.  If to be used commercially, do get in touch with me first. 

Hoping you find this entertaining as well as helpful.

A – Anteater


As PMO’s do, the Anteater comes in a range of shapes and sizes, each suitable for a different context.

Feeding on up to 35,000 ants (data) a day it preserves its ant nests (portfolio of projects).

When challenged it rears up on its strong tail (legitimacy) and fights off fearsome attackers with its large claws.


Like a few PMO’s, the Anteater has no teeth.  This leads some to underestimate its power. 

B – Beaver


Does a lot of its work under the surface

Keeps its range (portfolio) productive

Creative about harvesting benefits


Apt to be exploited by more advances species (Other Directors)

C – Chameleon

Thanks Eileen Roden


Readily change to suit the environment (answering current business needs).

Stereoscopic vision (sees all that is happening in the organisation). 

Despite not looking threatening, can grasp a bug (opportunity) in the twinkling of an eye.


Average life span is less than five years (as for PMOs).

D – Dinosaur

Thanks Suzie Kay


Adapting to opportunities, introduce massive innovation (PMO creativity).

A very wide range of types (as PMOs).

Rule the world for millennia (a long lasting fashion).


Feed on each other (merger and acquisition savings).

Eventually become extinct (as will PMOs?).

E – Elephant


Never forgets (keeper of the institutional PPP memory).

Thick sinned (brushes past minor difficulties).

Despite large size and strength, treads softly (organisationally sensitive).

Herbivore (Not destructive of others top of their food chains).


Tusks (create attributes others want to steal).

Few predators. Can over-reproduce then wreck flora in short term (Directors concerned about over-reach of PMOs).

F – Fox


Great stamina (exhausts critics)

Cunning (politically competent PMOs)

Can go to earth (hide amongst technology and acronyms)


Unpopular in the country (prey on unsophisticated projects)

Go to seed in urban environment (a nuisance when not needed)

Leaves a bad smell (why are we carrying this overhead?)

G – Goat


Highly productive, meat, skin and milk (varied valuable output)

Gets by on few resources (highly efficient)

Fecund (many useful spin-offs)


Will eat any old rubbish (use dodgy data)

Iconic image (impress without performing)

H – Hippopotamus


Can breath and see whilst 99% submerged and feeds on land at night (don’t disturb the managers)

Uniquely can call on land and underwater (more than one network)

Can surface unexpectedly upturning river craft (due massive respect)

Fight fiercely for territory, inflicting considerable damage (oh yes)


Most harmful beat to humans in Africa (fast and fierce response to lack of respect)

I – Iguana


Although a herbivore lizard can grow to 2 meters (some large PMOs about)

Has three eyes and great vision (some PMOs miss nothing)

Due to colouring, can be hard to spot (functions of PMO may be hidden)

Can regrow tail (pruned PMO returns to original size)

Tough, can survive fall of 12 meters (difficult to drop once established)


Difficult to care for as pets (more attractive in prospect than in reality)

J – Jackdaw

Highly intelligent, easily learn new skills (like some PMOs)

Survives in many habitats (as do PMOs)

Eats wide variety of food (can manage projects, programmes, portfolios and other functions)


Purloins shiny things (claim benefits created by others)

 “Swans sing when the jackdaws are silent” Roman adage (wisdom heard after PMO’s reports)

M – Magpie


As with PMO’s the magpie is very widely distributed, usually associated with human activity. 

They are intelligent birds, modifying their diet to what is available (in the portfolio).

They can mimic other bird calls, and even the human voice (communicate with many different disciplines)


They can pick at animal wounds thereby endangering the animal (harm a project)

Due to their predation, they can damage crops (over-interfere with a portfolio)

Z - Zebra


As do Zebra’s PMO folk like sticking together. 

Their nimbleness (re-baselining) and camouflage (jargon) can readily confuse an attacker.


They are useless when injured (lose credibility), except as lion meat.

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