Project Management

Just Say No to the Agile PMO

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Are you hearing a lot about Agile PMOs? I am, and I’m not a fan. I think Agile is awesome; it offers a far better approach to project delivery for certain types of projects (not all of them). I think PMOs are awesome —they’ve been at the heart of my career for a quarter century. But an Agile PMO? It’s a problematic term, a generic concept, and too confusing. Let me explain.

I asked my good friend Google about Agile PMOs, and here are a few selected responses, not sourced to protect the misguided:

  • An Agile PMO is a modern take on project management techniques.
  • The Agile PMO can help senior management as well as delivery teams.
  • An Agile PMO has high value orientation, self-organization, faster reaction times, efficient management of digital projects and customer experience.
  • An Agile PMO is a method of managing projects in an agile, flexible, and adaptive manner.

To summarize, an Agile PMO is either what all PMOs should be, or it’s an approach or technique. Well, I hope we can all agree that it’s not the latter. Of course, these days we also have another amazing resource for information, so I asked ChatGPT what an Agile PMO was. It went on for a bit, but here is the key bit:

“An Agile PMO is a central department within an organization that is responsible for establishing and maintaining project management standards, …

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