Project Management Office: Agile PMO versus Traditional PMO

13 May 2020 Consultancy-me.com

In today's disruptive environment, project management offices need to be just agile as the organisation around them. This is seeing the rise of the Agile PMO – but how is the Agile PMO different to the Traditional PMO that has dominated the programme and project management scene for years? Ziad Zakaria and Khan Legari from Deloitte on the key differences. 

Tracking 

Traditional PMO
Controls process through regular meetings, sets plan. Tracks progress by comparing completed work to actual baseline plan. 

Agile PMO
Monitor agile team’s work ,delivered in terms of “story points,” completed during each sprint, known as “velocity”. Agile PMO can monitor velocity to monitor the performance. Also monitor the progress of working software. 

Coordination

Traditional PMO
The PMO is also responsible for coordinating the different projects and their project managers. This includes, for example, standardized resource management.

Agile PMO
An agile PMO can orchestrate the work planning process, facilitating coordination among agile delivery teams.

Governance 

Traditional PMO
Governance is performed through project status reporting of milestones and deliverables etc. Information is aggregated and might be delayed, depending on the reporting cycle (e.g. fortnightly). 

Agile PMO

  • Governance performed through daily stand-ups, Scrum of Scrums, ‘Project walls’ and Leadership Boards
  • Information is available ‘real-time’. Regular product demonstrations at both the program and project levels take the place of traditional phase-gate governance reviews, freeing teams to rapidly release functionality without requiring formal approval
  • Risks, cross-project impacts, and dependencies are integrated planning sessions without formal governance board review 

Annual planning 

Traditional PMO
Centralized annual planning is performed yearly and only adjusted if something major happens.

Agile PMO

  • In an agile organization the strategy, goals and targets are set. However, the roadmap on how to get there will be adjusted during the year
  • Planning will be done on a regular basis and the current situation and market will be analyzed. Corrective actions will be taken accordingly
  • Decision making is distributed and not centralized anymore, which requires a high level of communication, trust and accountability

Resources management 

Traditional PMO
PMO organizations struggle with having more projects underway than resource capacity to do the actual work. Sometimes an individual resource can be assigned to multiple projects at the same time. This often results in productive loss of individuals, delay of project outcomes and therefore delay in business benefit realization.

Agile PMO
The work is based on the number of resources available and not on the number of projects. The importance here is that the team is pulling the work and not overloading its team members. There is no individual work assignment. 

Benefits tracking 

Traditional PMO
Not many traditional PMO measure the benefits. Measurements are an afterthought. Many PMO do the post completion evaluation but the metrics, measurements or baselines are hardly included early in business case. Reporting and tracking of outcomes once the project has been deployed is hardly done. 

Agile PMO
Agile PMO focus on measurements and benefits. Organizations, which follow an agile approach tend to focus on benefits and measurements from the beginning. They typically use a lean or business model canvas, form hypothesis to benefit to results. As agile PMO are close to customer and project teams they can track the benefits on the go. 

Documentation requirements 

Traditional PMO
Business cases and detailed project plans will be created in form of documentation as a means of governance and justification e.g. the person who wrote the document thought of all the requirements. Documentation is required as sponsor and business owner will be less engaged in the project. 

Agile PMO
The very high level business case will be developed with the extended team (including development team and management), therefore only lightweight documentation is required. Since the sponsors and product owners belong to the team and meet on a regular basis (in some cases daily), corrective actions can be performed when required (via Executive daily scrums). 

Documentation is reflected in lightweight representations such as mock up screens, not necessarily a Word document. 

Portfolio management 

Traditional PMO
Portfolio management consists of prioritization, strategic alignment, portfolio reporting, resource management allocation, opportunities and investment analysis, risk management and benefits realization tracking and reporting.

Agile PMO
Responsible for reporting out of portfolio strategy, prioritization; resource allocation; maintains Epic lightweight business case and Epic progress reporting, risk, dependency and impediment reporting. 

Knowledge management 

Traditional PMO
Knowledge management defining knowledge management policies, managing intellectual collateral / property, lessons learned, content management and collaboration. 

Agile PMO
Repository of agile training, guidance and support & agile transformation coaching etc. however most of the training is on job. 

Standard, tools & methodology 

Traditional PMO
Standards, methodologies and processes methodology definition; metrics definition; process development and improvement and PM tools are key here. 

Agile PMO
Agile process standards for Scrum and Kanban teams; what will be measured at the team, program and portfolio levels.

For more information, see this in-depth guide on agile project management by ProjectManager.com.


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