The Modern PMO: how the Top PMO offices successfully use Agile Methods

Ensure success for not only your PMO, but for your company.

A Project Management Office (PMO) has long been a staple of businesses, but today we see many businesses doing away with their PMO organizations, or worse, allowing their PMOs to derail their transformations into more modern businesses. Other companies are starting SMOs or Strategy Management Offices to decrease the hold of, and eventually replace, the PMO. SMOs focus on ensuring the corporate strategy is providing the highest value possible and is aligned to modern ways of working.

These movements have led many to argue PMOs simply can’t exist in an agile environment. The ridged upfront planning standards and numerous constraints of traditional PMOs work in direct conflict with the more fluid agile methodology. This criticism does hold some weight. In 5 years, we may not talk much about Portfolio Management Offices if the PMO can’t evolve with the business.

So the question becomes: can PMOs exist in an agile environment?

Yes, and there are already some very successful PMO organizations existing today. These PMOs are moving from being project focused and managing constraints, to being business focused and ensuring strategic value is created. They understand the entire value stream and are no longer focused solely on execution. Modern PMOs are no longer road blocks, but rather are paving the way in their organization’s transformation to a modern business—regaining their relevancy and driving success.

A great PMO has made the transformation from driving teams to get work done, to ensuring top market and corporate value are created. How?

  1. By delivering business guidance to the entire corporation and ensuring the company is using data to manage their business vs. the verbal status reports of the past.
  2. They produce real results by using light-weight governance models and consistent dashboards, using data instead of verbal inputs, to track the status of work being done.
  3. They ensure their companies are tying strategy to execution and remove barriers between ideas and outcomes.

This can become a reality at your company; PMOs can continue to provide oversight for self-organizing teams while also becoming change leaders rather than laggards. If you want to learn how to keep pace with the modern PMO, come see us at Agile 2018 on Thursday at 9:00 AM.

In this session we will review the ways Modern PMOs are thriving in successful organizations, the strategic and tactical changes you can make to your organization to succeed, and provide real-world examples of how companies are moving from vintage Project and Program Management to today’s Modern Product Management. Ensure success for not only your PMO, but for your company.


Laureen Knudsen
Before joining CA Technologies in the Agile Advisor role, Laureen was an award-winning senior business leader…

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