Project Management Office

The PMO makes the lives of project team members easier by supporting the team in the areas of scheduling, status reporting, project management tools, and training, among others. Some of the key items of support that the PMO provides include consulting and mentoring of current staff, developing and promulgating methodologies and standards relating to project management, and serving as a central source for help in planning and managing efforts.

Hie PMO facilitates improvements in project management maturity by serving as the focal point for consistent application of processes and methodologies. Often, without a PMO, the project management efforts of an organization are not consistent and are not focused on a common vision. The PMO serves as the proverbial “glue” that holds the project management efforts of the organization together. Because the PMO is an important facilitator of project management integration, this special component is covered in Chapter 3, “Project Integration Management.”

The Agile Project Management Office

A traditional PMO’s route to maturity often passes from “You need to do a status report and time tracking” to “Process Police” to enabling improved decision making and customer focus for enterprise transparency and decision making. An agile PMO has no interest in being the “Process Police” but instead strives for a lean organization with agility that focuses on the portfolio, strategic alignment, data, and analytics in order to facilitate decision making that provides value to the organization. This value is derived from providing the tools and advisory services for the teams, integrating those tools into other project management software tools, providing data analytics and reporting capabilities and subject matter expertise in agile portfolio and program levels. An Agile PMO seeks to help the organization transform from a predictive lifecycle to an Adaptive/Agile Environment and to transform itself from a traditional PMO to an agile PMO.

Management Oversight

Another key component in facilitating an increase in project management maturity is the amount of management oversight and involvement that key leaders of the organization have in the project management function. The bottom line here is that if management does not demonstrate active interest, it is unlikely that project management processes will improve. If no one is holding the project manager responsible for project accomplishment and consistently measuring project performance, an unwritten signal is being sent to the project management community.

Managers must make use of the data provided by the project management community and find ways to use the information to improve organizational performance.

Management oversight is covered in Chapter 7 (“Quality Management”) based on its impact on process quality.

Management Oversight in the Adaptive Organization

Unlike in a predictive/traditional project environment in which, based on the size and complexity of the initiative, there can be multiple levels of management oversight (e.g., project sponsor, executive sponsor, phase gate reviews, leadership team, etc.), in an Adaptive/Agile Environment, management oversight is less about oversight and more about involvement. Tire “Agile Manifesto” does not mention oversight, but rather the importance of involvement from “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and “Customer collaboration over contact negotiations.” There are instances of having a steering committee for large cross-product initiatives, but in most cases it is the Product Owner and Product Manager who represent product management.

Professional Development

The continued development of project managers is essential. Project management constitutes an odd mixture of technical skills, management skills, and leadership skills that few people naturally exhibit. Most of us require continued refinement and renewal of such skills.

The project management profession also continues to broaden its knowledge base, so there are always new skills to learn. Many research studies, including our own (see “Strategies for Project Recovery” (2011) and “The Strategy Execution Benchmark” (2017)), have noted the key roles that appropriately trained project managers play in project and organizational success. Professional development is covered in Chapter 8, “Resource Management.”

Professional Development in an Adaptive/Agile Environment

The “Agile Manifesto” Principles highlight the need for on-going professional development with “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need.” While there are professional certifications and requirements for continuing professional development, the structure and maturity of team will drive continue learning as noted in the “Agile Manifesto” Principles, “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhance agility,” “the best architecture, requirements and designs emerge from self-organizing teams,” and “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more efficient, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Certifications combined with practical experience should be expected on the team.

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