Agile Methodologies such as Scrum, XP, and Kanban are here to stay. To keep pace, Project Management Offices (PMOs) need to transform from traditional command and control, task oriented organizations to lean and mean agile machines (couldn’t help myself, just sounded cool!!). Can the PMO demonstrate the courage to take on the transformation and trust that it can facilitate processes that assist with adding business value and lead continuous improvement? I say ‘Yes we can!!’ (‘Just do it’ was already taken).
Let the Transformation begin!
Or maybe not. Here is where things get a little challenging. Here is where traditionalists hold tight to the PMBoK and get on their soapbox. How can the PMO support ‘lightweight practices’? We need all that documentation and those processes otherwise what will we do. Indeed, what will we do?
In my experience, the PMO has always been the keeper of the project processes. In a Agile PMO, that does not change. In fact, it is paramount for the PMO staff to focus on ensuring that Agile Methodologies like Scrum are implemented as best as can be. Process for process sake will sink any transformation. Think waste reduction. The concentration should be on helping scrum teams look for non value added activities to be eliminated from the process.
How will we report on project status?
Many PMO’s find themselves lost if they don’t have the standard MS Project Plan/Gantt chart that provides numerical and graphic representation of the project’s status at any point in time. Agile makes the status of a project very visible. The scrum team creates a task board that represents the activities to be accomplished during that project (I like to think of each sprint as a project) and updates it on a daily basis. As those walking by notice that things seem to move on the task board and that represents progress.
ScrumMasters track other metrics like burn down charts. A sprint burn down chart graphically represents the work remaining over the duration of a sprint which feeds into the release burn down chart which represents the progress against a release plan. Agile’s version of the gantt chart (in my opinion).
Is that all there is?
No, that’s not all. But enough to get started and other articles will follow. There is much for the Agile PMO to do to ensure success and it all starts with the process. Trusting that the role of the PMO is just as important in the lean/agile world, if not more so, as it is in the traditional setting, and having the courage to adapt its role will ensure longevity for the PMO and start the transformation to a value added organization.
Do you trust in the process and have the courage to change?
© 2011 Gwen Miller. All Rights Reserved.
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