A subscriber to this blog, who I will call Chen (since that is his name), wrote me recently to ask how he could become an Agile PMO Quickly. He wanted to know what resources I could share with him to help in his development process. I thought it was a a great question, and apparently one that I hadn't yet answered effectively in this blog.
I initially responded to Chen that one doesn't necessarily "become" an Agile PMO, as much as they become more agile as a PMO. I am not sure we ever arrive, so to speak, and become Agile.
I surmised that when he said quickly, Chen wouldn't be interested in doing like I did and spending 20+ years doing projects the traditional/waterfall way. That experience helped with my perspective. The cost, including a fair amount of frustration with problem projects and programs, served to motivate me. But that won't be quick. So I guess if he wants to be quick he had better learn from and stand on the shoulders of those who are further along the path from him.
Here are an even 10 different resources that will help anyone to become a MORE Agile PMO Quickly.
#1 Study the 4 Agile Values and 12 Agile Principles - If you review and internalize those values and principles, and strive to be consistent with them in everything you do, you will be well on your path to being an Agile PMO. Visit the Agile Manifesto.
#2 - Master Scrum - Scrum is the most popular Agile framework that replaces much of the traditional project management needed by a team. Scrum flips the traditional triple constraint upside down, and fixes schedules and costs, while requirements are allowed to vary. The Scrum guide is free, quick and easy to read, and should be absorbed in it's entirety. After you read it, go watch an agile team for 1) a daily standup and 2) for the end of sprint/beginning of sprint Scrum meetings. It will be enlightening.
#3 - Understand Agile from the Project Management Viewpoint - A good paper for this was written by Mike Cottmyer for VersionOne. I think it may be helpful to PMs who are trying to ramp up on what Agile is all about. Follow this link to register at VersionOne for the paper. Another way to understand Agile from the PM perspective, is to review the PMI Agile Certified Practioner (ACP) materials, including the PMI-ACP exam content outline. You can also tackle some free PMI-ACP practice exam questions to get a flavor for what PMI thinks Agile is all about and how you would do on the PMI-ACP exam.
#4 - Read what is an Agile PMO - There are a handul of items out there that will help. I blogged last year about a good paper from Kevin Thompson on Agile PMO. In hindsight, I was a little hard on Kevin as he was attempting to do what many of are attempting - shed some light on what it means to become more agile, in particular at the PMO level. Kevin's written several other related articles, like Scrum Meets PMP. You can also read everything that is posted on this blog!
#5 - Study Sally - Sally Elatta is an Agile thought leader, trainer, coach, and President of Agile Transformations. Sally has done many webinars on Agile Adoption for the PMI Learning Education and Development (LEAD) CoP. In addition to being a terrific speaker, Sally has a deep understanding of Agile concepts and communicating to various audience levels. Here are links to some of my favorite Sally webinars; note that some require registration or PMI membership (updated on Feb. 5):
- Transforming to an Agile PMO
- A Journey Through the Agile Lifecycle
- Scrum 101 Short Videos
- Success Factors When Transforming to Agile
- Agile Portfolio Planning with Kanban
The free videos require (free) Registration on AgileVideos:
These recorded Webinars require that you login with a valid PMI Membership:
- Agile Requirement Gathering
- Agile Idea Qualification and Project Initiation
- Agile Iteration Planning and Execution
- Agile Estimating and Planning
- Agile Requirements
- A Journey Through an Agile/Scrum Project Lifecycle
- Transform Towards High Performing Teams Webinar
- Success Factors for Transitioning to Agile
#6 - Pizza Party - Pick one of the webinars that you like from the list above, buy a pizza or two and invite your team or colleagues to view it over lunch. Instant learning lunch!
#7 - Study More Sally - Sally Elatta and I co-authored a paper (did I mention that I work for Sally?) for the Cutter Consortium. The topic is Transitioning to an Agile PMO, the do's and don'ts. Click here to to register with Cutter and get it for free.
#8 - Watch this video about the dark side of PMO's and Agile. The video from Rally features Dave West, a VP of Research at Forrester Research. The most interesting part of the video comes at the beginning. Dave West was part of a panel group interview at a Rally event, and made some comments about the posture of PMO's, basically saying that as things get more complex, their reaction is to add more governance. Hat tip to Scott Dunn and his blog on Software Development and Human Capital.
#9 - Form a cross-organizational team to promote Agile Adoption in your Organization. Some people call this group the Agile Champions Team, some call it the Agile Working Group. It doesn't matter what you call it, but have a group that is dedicated to Agile, and empowered and motivated to identify and remove organizational impediments to Agile Adoption. Jorgen Hesselberg shared his presentation on the Agile Working Group at Nokia/Navteq at a recent Agile Meetup in Chicago and it was extremely helpful.
#10 - Listen in, or better yet, join a discussion. Ask your questions. Let others explain what worked for them and what didn't. LinkedIn has lots of places to look for these types of discussion, you might join in the discussion here as a starting point. You can also post your comments, challenges, inspirational thoughts, or humorous quips here on this blog.
So there you have it, 10 ways to Quickly Become an Agile PMO. What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.