Why and How Agile Project Management Offices Deliver Value in a Complex World
Delivering value is a key goal for project management offices. This is especially difficult in a world that becomes ever more complex. This post is by Philippe Husser, author of the The High-Impact PMO and a KigoSpaces contributor.
AGILE PMO’s CAN SUCCEED BETTER THAN OTHERS TO DELIVER VALUE
- Agile project management offices however succeed better than others to face this challenge successfully.
- Being Agile PMOs, they anticipate the trends and the needs of the business they support.
- They are flexible to adjust in advance to their organisational needs, and tailor the services they offer (hard and soft), as well as their capabilities to enable the future.
- I believe Agile PMOs are the PMOs that can explore, learn and promote the 7 key directions and more.
THE SEVEN KEY DIRECTIONS AND MORE..
1) THE AGILE MINDSET
- Ceaselessly understand and practice the agile mindset (a mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values, and dispositions to act in ways that favor agility).
- Example: The PMO Balanced Scorecard places the “people dimension” (with the project stakeholders and team) on top as a result of processes and resources.
2) THE CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPLEXITY
- Explore, test, and learn how to deal with the characteristics of complexity, like for example nonlinearities, emergence, self-organization, sensitivity to initial conditions, and fractals versus no-scaling properties to cite a few.
- Example: The PMO invests upstream time and energy to understand the project objectives, constraints, and context and gets knowledge from similar past projects in order to limit the gaps in (budget, time…) forecasts.
3) DECENTRALISED PMO’s
- Prefer a community of decentralized PMOs / change agents acting as proxies to a heavy centralized PMO when supporting major transformation programs.
- Example: The (central) PMO applies the principle of subsidiarity and does nothing that can be decided, done or controlled locally.
4) HUMAN DYNAMICS
- Learn and practice network analysis, social dynamics, cognitive biases detection, and generally speaking everything related to human dynamics.
- Example: The agile PMO establishes and maintains continuously a map of the degree of synergy and antagonism of each of the project stakeholders (individuals and groups).
- This map is the input of an action plan.
5) MULTICULTURAL UNDERSTANDING
- Learn especially cultural traits, develop multicultural understanding, and adjust postures accordingly.
- Example: The agile PMO adjust the meetings’ agenda to the cultural preferences of the participants.
- Are participants action oriented or relationship-oriented, high-status oriented or not, risk-adverse or not…
6) ADJUST METHODOLOGIES TO SPECIFIC NEEDS
- Rely on proven methodologies but adjust these methodologies to the specific needs of the projects, programs, and portfolios.
- Example: Agile PMOs master the PMBOK body of knowledge and adapt its processes to the requirements of the organization, its environment, and of the project.
- They do not manage an information system project like an Olympics infrastructure project.
7) BREAK THE SILOS
- Break the silos between the different schools of thought in project management and master a variety of methods and tools.
- Example: Agile PMOs have onboarded experts of SCRUM or Design Thinking as well as experts of Waterfall.
- They know how to mix the approaches in a major program requiring go-to-market processes, manufacturing plants, and people hiring and training projects.
8) NIMBLE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
- Implement nimble management systems that are nimbler than the organization’s management system (Ashby’s law).
- Example: Agile PMOs implement different steering systems at each level of their governance process, each adapted to its audience (senior executives, …, operational levels), that are forward-looking, and faster than the legacy system.
9) VALUE ORIENTATION
- Replace the cost-scope-time orientation by a value orientation (impact on customers, community, team, organizational sustainability…). Everything else is an unsolvable “three-body problem”.
- Example: Agile PMOs push their project leadership to use a single goal, that is clearly defined, with a handful of accompanying principles. This the best (if not only) way to drive to success a complex system. Everything beyond this is surplus.
To your continued success…
Follow Philippe on Linkedin and read the full story and more in Philippe’s book: The High-Impact PMO
Note: You can read more on agile PMOs in Philippe Husser’s new book The High-Impact PMO – How Agile Project Management Offices Deliver Value in a Complex World.