Exterior of Davis building on the UTM campus

Launching UTM's Project Management Office

Alexandra Gillespie

Dear colleagues, 

I’m pleased to announce the public launch of UTM’s campus-wide Project Management Office (PMO), one of the first of its kind in Canada. 

The office will help realize priorities of our Strategic Framework, working to facilitate effective collaborations, to build efficient and sustainable operations, and to extend UTM’s leadership as a model for best project management practice. It will also help make the most of our shared resources in a time of financial pressure, increasing UTM’s capacity to deliver on high-value projects while decreasing our need to hire external firms for project consulting.  

PMO offers three kinds of service, each with an increasing level of activity:

(1) Enable. Think do it yourself, where PMO shares templates and tools that anyone can use to manage their own projects.

(2) Support. Think do it with help, where PMO consults on a project’s development throughout its duration.

(3) Deliver. Think do it together, where PMO assembles and leads a team to complete all project work and manages all aspects of a project directly.   

Each kind of service is open to the entire UTM community. PMO might appeal most to teams that don’t have an established project management methodology and that need to coordinate complex projects touching multiple portfolios at once. UTM’s student advising project provides a case in point as the kind of work on which PMO will—and has already started to—help deliver. 

PMO will also maintain an online inventory of UTM’s major projects, updated quarterly to show our campus’s work-in-progress and to share evidence for collaboration and informed decision-making. The office plans, too, to organize a community of practice starting early in 2023, open to anyone at UTM who supports or has an interest in projects. It will host skill-sharing workshops, professional development opportunities, and other project management events, aiming to strengthen our campus’s culture of continuous improvement.  

PMO’s launch realizes a vision long held by Susan Senese, our (now retired) Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director, Strategy, who saw the need for a cross-portfolio project team to match our campus’s size and complexity. She also saw how a campus-wide team would complement outstanding area-specific work led by FMP and I&ITS, both of which already run efficient management systems for capital and information technology projects. Her work laid a foundation now built up by Anuar Rodrigues and Jennifer Reid-Burrell, who have put Susan’s vision in practice as, respectively, PMO’s founding Executive Director and PMO’s first Senior Project Officer.   

I’m grateful to them all—and to all the partners across U of T who have shared ideas, resources, and feedback to inform PMO’s approach and make its launch possible. I’m also excited for UTM as a whole, since we can now draw on a comprehensive project management hub that has only a handful of peers in North American higher education. To learn more about UTM’s PMO, or to ask for one of their services, please visit their website and email utm.pmo@utoronto.ca.  


Alexandra Gillespie
Vice-President & Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga