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August 28, 2013

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Great article Mike. I like your ideas about aligning the PMO with Agile teams. If more PMOs operated from the mindset of how can we help, no doubt Agile teams consider engaging more.

Thanks for the article - Jonathan

Hi Jonathan, Thanks for your comment, you identify the classic standoff when you say “If more PMOs operated from the mindset of how can we help, no doubt Agile teams would consider engaging more.” But standoffs don’t move us forward. For years I saw agile teams not engaging since the PMO did not appear to help. In defense of the PMO, when someone asks for directions then sets off in the opposite direction from what you first say, it is easy to shake your head and stop trying. I have only recently seen real benefits when we have not only educated the PMO, but also the team and created project stories relating to joint wins with the PMO. This first seemed counter intuitive and not focused on business value, but you can go faster when you learn how to take off the handbrake and then use it when needed.

Nice work Mike once again, very rightly said. Unfortunately most of the PMOs are not organization oriented rather they are a personality oriented and the competency of the PMO leader drive the PMO direction. Commonly asked questions are like which project management standard you follow etc. Very few PMO take initiative to lead PMO in Agile supportive environment as otherwise Agile projects are just one extension of PMO portfolio and they too are asked to submit report on waterfall style projects.
Farhan - Winnipeg

Thanks for a great article, well said Mike! I would tend to believe this is a difficult approach for many of the PMO's management to adopt or even to realize, their lack of understanding of what agile development is really about can be a major issue which has to be worked on.
As much as I would like to see agile development applicable not merely in SW/IT development, especially in the various industries in which the traditional project management may seem to be more applicable at the present time. Yes, I totally agree that PMOs should go beyond project delivery and look towards benefit realization and what value are they providing to the customer! you are providing a great approach here in which both can work in alignment. The mission here is to obtain the PMO's management understanding and buy-in to ensure its success!
Luna Abualhaj- GGU MS.PM student

This is a great thought provoking article. Thanks for the same.
With the growing acceptance of agile project management practices and principles the traditional PMO is now facing a challenge on how to imbibe and enhance their ability to respond to complexity, ambiguity and fast paced change. The problem becomes accentuated when there is a hybrid of waterfall and agile projects being implemented simultaneously within the same organization. In such a situation what should the traditional Project Management office do?
Should they change their methodology to align with the agile approach? As the project management office matures they should be able to become flexible and adaptable to the demands of the situation. If the situation within the organization or within a certain project requires the introduction of the waterfall and its prescriptive requirements, that would be the direction to go. If the environment is fast paced and subject to frequent changes agile methods would be more appropriate. The high performance project management office will have to learn to pick and choose.

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