Traditional waterfall projects are generally overlaid with traditional governance practices that are cyclical or periodic in nature. For example, the monthly Steer Co Pack, weekly risks and issues workshops, weekly project briefings, weekly change control board, monthly project status reports. All of these activities are considered to respond to the nature of waterfall delivery practices. Agile offers PMO’s an incredible opportunity to transform those aspects of their role that do not deliver value to the organisation.
PMO’s, take an inventory of the periodic reports you produce. How timely are they, what decision making do they prompt, what behaviour do they promote, what intrinsic value do they offer? Leaders are not interested in ticking the traditional boxes anymore. If we don’t need it, if it serves no purpose, don’t produce it. Techniques such as simply not producing a report and seeing what happens are ok.
PMO’s please be encouraged to find opportunities to input directly into Digital Transformation strategy and drive organisational agendas around real time data, self-serve management information and lean reporting approaches.
We have the remit to question wasteful practices. For example, the monthly Steer Co Pack which takes 3 days to produce, is issued a week before the Steer Co Meeting, mandates Exec Level Participation, diary co-ordination, room booking, minute taking, decision logging. Is it necessary? Is there an alternative more effective way of ensuring adequate Exec Level oversight? These are the questions we ought to be asking ourselves and practicing agility through making iterative change.
PMO’s can get a bad rap for being seen as the cause of meeting after meeting. The schedule update meeting, the financials review meeting, the risks and issues meeting, the change meeting, the list goes on. How can we bring a lean challenge to this? Let’s educate ourselves along with the rest of the organisation and delve into the Agile PM’s toolkit. How can we use the Kanban wall, Stand Ups, tools such as JIRA, to ensure adequate oversight and governance? How can we contribute to creating capacity and reducing unnecessary overhead? Let’s create sprints for ourselves and radically change behaviours.
Let’s critically assess the tools we use to perform our roles. Are they integrated, automated, do they drive value, are they fit for purpose. PMO’s need to own their roadmap and set themselves up for success. With the plethora of solutions out there, let’s start researching and produce our own best in practice plans. Digital transformation is for us too!
However, you chose to refer to the Agile movement be it new ways of working, lean etc. etc. Underneath it all, what Agile represents at its core is a mindset. It’s a harnesser for change done right, quickly, expertly with minimum fuss and maximum result. This doesn’t happen easily or overnight. Agility is a continuous journey of self-improvement as opposed to a destination. We want to see PMO’s joining us on this journey. Let us embrace agility and all that it offers us. Let’s not fear failure, lets disrupt and drive value. The more we embrace the mindset the more Agile reveals to us the right ways to take what we need from it to achieve our PMO minimal viable product. As we become Agile and use its structure to re-define our purpose and to frame our continuous improvement, the more we support the organisations we work for in achieving their transformation objectives.
If your PMO needs a supportive hand and some innovative ideas to kick off their transformation journey, please get in touch.