Project Management

Help Your PMO Thrive in an Agile World: Become the CFO's New Best Friend

Donna Fitzgerald is a seasoned PPM and strategy execution expert, specializing in practical advice designed to produce the results organizations need. She spent 10 years at Gartner helping clients solve such problems as how to effectively execute strategy, how to convert the IT PMO into an agile powerhouse and how to improve their enterprise portfolio management. Prior to Gartner, Donna ran an agile software development organization, was a product manager at two software companies, co-founded a program management consulting company and was a Silicon Valley trained CFO. She also was a co-author in 2005 of the agile project management "Declaration of Interdependence." See her blogs and more of her writing at

Repurposing the PMO in an agile environment from being a reporting PMO to a fully trained analytical PMO is something that is urgently needed. CFOs cannot continue to accept the information that they’ve been getting from IT at face value. Success in the new digital economy requires a level of financial review and an understanding of investment opportunities that significantly exceeds what was required when most of the projects were to support internal operations.

What Makes Some CFOs Uncomfortable
When asked privately, the majority of chief financial officers will admit that they don’t really “know” what’s going on with the money being spent on software development in IT. This admission should not be construed as saying they’re concerned that the accounting is not up to snuff. What’s troubling them is a deep sense that, if they just had more knowledge, they might be making different decisions about potential investments.

Let’s be honest—when IT was just a support service, it wasn’t something the CFO needed to lose sleep over. But things keep getting more complicated. First, it was SOP 98.1. Then came agile. Then it was agile and SOP 98.1[i] Now, with the shift to digital products and service as revenue drivers, it’s only natural the CFO might start getting a little uncomfortable.

Part of this lack of …

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Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

- Robert Frost