Agile PMOProject Management Office

Does Agile Kick the PMO to the Curb?

If an organization is undergoing a wide agile transformation, is it time to sunset the PMO? Okay, that is a loaded question with a lot of variables. So in a post for Leading Agile, Marty Bradley considers one specific example that he sees frequently:

The company is in an ad hoc state. They may be delivering but it isn’t always on time. Scope creep is inevitable in this environment as they schedule 3, 6, and maybe even 12 month releases. As much as the teams try to be agile there are a number of processes in place to make sure the product actually gets out the door. There’s some release planning up front, expectations are set. Development may occur in sprints but integration testing and acceptance testing lag behind. Sometimes it is so complicated to do integration testing it has to happen in a big time box towards the end.

Many stage gates are required because trust is just severely lacking in the business. In such a scenario, strong governance will be required to refocus the organization on agile essentials—teams, the backlog, and software that gets to done. Bradley estimates that governance will have to occur at least at portfolio, program, and team levels. That very much means the PMO should stick around, at least for the time being.

Until trust and communication start to automate certain procedures, the PMO and its manual procedures will actually be very useful to get the ball rolling. In a way, the PMO can help to “fake it till you make it.” It would be hasty to dismantle it when it still has so much good to do.

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