The Agile PMO Game Theory

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

A Project Management Office can act as an obstacle to agile projects. This can take the form of asking for inappropriate planning detail by not recognizing the likelihood of changes, or asking for conformance to templates that are not even used on an agile project. For these reasons, PMOs often get a bad reputation on agile teams. But it need not be that way--they can also add tremendous support and be a great help.

First, let’s look at what a PMO actually does--or what they should do, since implementations and services vary. In the September 2010 issue of the Project Management Journal (the PMI’s research publication), there was a nice definition of PMO roles:

  1. Monitor and control project performance
  2. Develop and implement standard methodologies, processes and tools
  3. Develop the competency of project personnel, including training and mentoring
  4. Multi-project management, including program and portfolio management, coordination and allocation of resources between projects
  5. Strategic management, including participation in strategic planning and benefits management
  6. Organizational learning, including the management of lessons learned, audits and monitoring of PMO performance
  7. Management of customer interfaces
  8. Recruit, select and evaluate project managers
  9. Execute specialized tasks for project managers (e.g. …

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