Align the PMO with Agile

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website TacticalProjectManagement.com.

A project management office can be a crucial advocate for agile transformation, but many PMOs act more like roadblocks. Here are some ideas for building alignment between your PMO and agile initiatives, particularly in the areas of governance, planning, scheduling and change control.

If you’re getting started with Agile, one of the best advocates is the project management office. Stifle your laugh as I know there is an unfortunate view that all PMOs are just fun governors who get in the way of actual work. Not all PMOs act as the “process police” as I’ve met many that help enable teams providing tools, training, consulting and championing best practices for other teams to use.

If you’re implementing an Agile project and the PMO isn’t aligned with the Agile ceremonies, then the PMO could be a roadblock. If the PMO understands all the good practices being put into place, they can be a strong advocate and further champion how IT software projects should be implemented. When I first encountered Agile, I was the PMO and after an IT reorganization, I started implementing projects using Agile processes. Working on both sides of the project management fence helped identify the key pain points non-Agile PMOs encounter. Below are a few of the common questions and how Agile addresses a PMO’s concern around project governance, planning, …

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