Ever since establishing AMO about 2 years ago, the most common question we get asked is “what is the difference between an AMO and a PMO?”. Before answering that question, we usually like to point out what AMO is NOT.

What AMO is NOT

AMO is NOT a Project methodology; there are plenty of those that exist already. The challenge is often PMOs are subjected to, or choose to utilise such methodologies to run their PMOs. Project Methodologies are for Projects and should NOT be used to run PMOs.

The Problem with using traditional methods for Portfolio, Program and Project Governance

Every time we initiate a new Portfolio, Program or Project we keep reinventing the wheel. This is neither efficient or effective governance as our organisation’s compliance needs and expectations evolve over time.

Traditional Portfolio, Program and Project methodologies typically use a ‘one size fits all’ approach. They are often inflexible and inefficient in addressing the specific governance needs and expectations of the organisation to achieve that breakthrough/breakout result.

With AMO, you start with the core elements, these core elements underpin everything we do next. They help identify what you need to add or subtract. The core elements form the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you then add and subtract and evolve from there. We look at what’s needed or not needed and go from there.

Common Pitfalls of a Traditional PMO

The traditional PMO came into existence in the 1950s, and was established to centralise management of business projects. The original PMO model was a command-and-control type model. It involved establishing consistency in process, in a traditional PMO, sometimes that’s following a process for process sake because consistency there is about aligning to the PMO’s mandated processes which often are the same for every project. Yes, that may be consistent but is it efficient or valuable?

“The traditional PMO method have now resulted in more paperwork than collaboration”

A traditional PMO does NOT look at the bigger picture, focusing only on the here and now. Their time is consumed with often repetitive reporting that doesn’t provide value, or conversing with Project Managers on why they must comply, and therefore lack the time and sometimes vision to look at the bigger picture. In many organisations, satisfying the PMO requirements (or demands) often results in trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

After reading the above, we expect you have a few questions. How does an organisation change itself and its PMOs to thrive in what’s becoming a more agile world for the delivery of projects and programs? How do PMOs deliver more with less? How do PMOs maintain process with flexibility? How do PMOs provide greater transparency and support without the overheads?

Becoming Agile

There is a misconception that adopting agile ways of working means you can rid yourself of PMOs as they are not required. False! Although the actual term PMO does not form part of the ‘Agile’ landscape, the role that a PMO provides is now more crucial than ever.

Agile Projects are just like any other Project, they still must deliver, on time, on budget and with defined end. Proceeding without the proper level of oversight and governance (and levels do vary amongst every organisation) can result in significant cost blowouts, and activities undertaken for activities sake.

A more agile PMO can lead to significantly better outcomes for Projects with a lean support function that extends beyond Projects. An agile PMO does not have a prescriptive list of activities it must adhere to, but rather an approach to better manage the governance requirements required to support projects.

A more agile PMO, done well, can lead to identification of duplication between streams, can identify cost savings, and can identify issues before they arise. A more agile PMO provides a lean support function, again, if set up well. An agile PMO can provide continuity and scalability. An agile PMO helps you focus on doing the right things, in the right way.

Many executives are reluctant to step outside their comfort zone, for fear of the unknown. Many times, some senior leaders often request a dozen page reports only to not read them. Many executives may be afraid to make change, for fear of failure.

“What about the benefits that await by changing the tired, cumbersome, overburdened, and top-heavy model that exists today?”

Introducing the Agile Management Office

AMO is a new concept to the traditional PMO, which provides governance that better supports projects, programs and portfolios.

The AMO Method is an agile model that provides adaptability and flexibility in application while enabling continuous improvement. It enables sharing of learnings to improve what’s there and looks at innovating as you progress

An AMO can easily integrate with your organisation’s existing framework and governance bodies as it does not replace any existing methodologies in place today. It’s an approach that is high value, repeatable, flexible, provides transparency, and supportive of quick wins for your business.

What makes an AMO different?

AMO is an approach that has been developed in response to the traditional PMO model. This “break-through” Agile solution challenges the traditional methodology by providing flexibility and adaptability in application while ensuring governance requirements are met or exceeded.

One part of The AMO Method is our Critical Success Factors:

  • Consistency, critical in reducing rework and minimising duplication and increasing productivity;
  • Collaboration, is the effort of bringing people together, getting it right the first time and working transparently, looking at ways to continuously improve together.
  • Coordination, is how you manage the complex and bring it altogether, utilising the right people at the right time, for the right things.

Using the 3C’s, an AMO ensures organisational harmonisation and provides transparency across the organisation and the Portfolio/s it supports.

Key features of the AMO Method – the Method we’ve developed to implement an AMO includes:

  • Targeting high value areas, shifting priorities and attention to where it’s needed most
  • A model that interacts with all stakeholders
  • It enables better ‘governance’ that is transparent to those embracing the change
  • It results in capability uplift and continuous improvement
  • Supportive of Peaks and Troughs

Key differences between the Traditional PMO Method and the AMO Method

Is an AMO for me?

AMO’s are multicultural, in that they support any organisation or industry. An AMO is possible at almost any size but setting up your AMO in the right way at the outset is the most critical step.

Before transitioning or setting up an AMO, it is important that we have senior leadership support and sponsorship. With such a shift from the traditional PMO model to the new AMO way of working, commitment is needed upfront to ensure we have support of the vision and a clear focus.

If you’re ready to do away with the top-heavy reporting, inconsistent low value processes, lack of transparency and the revolving door that is PMO, then you might just be ready.

If you’re looking for a more supportive approach to governance and support of projects, one that provides greater flexibility and enables integration across the organisation, then you might just be ready.

Agile Management Office Leading the Way with AMO

At Agile Management Office, we’ve learnt through our experience that we are leading the way in more agile and lean thinking for the traditional PMO. As a disruptor in this space, we hope to influence the rise of AMOs, as we believe it’s time for a better more value adding approach, respecting the past but knowing that the future requires adoption of a new way in order to get things done.

If you’re interested in finding out more, please visit our website www.agilemanagementoffice.com or get in touch via email contact@agilemanagementoffice.com.