The next generation PMO is adaptive

In todays world of disruption does the structure an function of your PMO still meet business needs?


Do your embedded processes, documents and  and operations hinder more than help the delivery of projects?


PMOs have to change to meet the new disruptive environment where failure to spot a trend can wipe out your company revenue streams in a matter of months.


Characteristics of Traditional PMOs:

  • Bureaucratic
  • clerical
  • dictatorial
  • distant
  • reactive


However research from AIPM and PMI events shows that most PMO Managers don't believe these characteristics are delivering what the organsiation needs.  rather they see the role of the PMO evolving to be:


Required CharActERistics of an Adaptive PMO

  • Responsive,
  • proactive
  • collaborative
  • empowered
  • facilitative


In essence, a move away for the role of the PMO from compliance to assurance.


View the Adaptive PMO presentation given at AIPM PMO SIGS in Canberra and Sydney:


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PMOs were established to ensure that projects follow the right governance processes and had the authority to make interventions if this wasn't the case.  The PMO mandate came from the premise that project success will flow from ensuring every project follows the same  process.  While this is important it doesn't in itself ensure project success as the sobering statistics on project failure frequently highlight.


Project success is more likely if the project environment is established to ensure:


That delivery follows established principles rather than conformance to rules

There is culture of openness, trust and transparency rather a fear of failure which can mask exactly what is happening in the project.

Showing progress in real time though visual paper or electronic systems rather than buried in post event reports and documents

Collaboration through stand-ups rather than control boards

Integrated quality and assurance rather than assurance as an activity

Inclusive conversations rather than requests for clarity.



The new adaptive PMO has a key role in establishing these environments by setting and communicating the new direction.


Your implementation can cover three scenarios:


New PMO:


The organisation has grown to encompass a substantial number of projects, the majority of which use rapid practices. A PMO is needed in order to understand and manage how wisely the money for projects is being spent and to capture and promulgate best practice for the benefit of all.




A PMO exists that has successfully performed its function for traditional project approaches. New approaches are being piloted (e.g. SCRUM) and the PMO needs to understand how its function has to adapt to  integrate the new practices.




he existing PMO has recognised the value of new project and programme approaches and decides to support such approaches across the portfolio and a wide variety of stakeholders.

As with most agile approaches its less important to be concerned about detailing everything that has to change in the operation of the PMO rather its about setting the correct vision and roadmap for the PMO and taking steps and making adjustments to achieve that vision.


Here are the Top Ten Reasons to support agility in your PMO:



The velocity of delivery is increased over time to further productivity.



Teams are closely engaged with customers in an honest and candid relationship.



Stakeholders prioritize requests and see how resources can be best deployed



Communicating contribution, measuring results and investing time in what works.



Set aside a portion of the PMO resources to anticipating change in order to be able to quickly adapt.



Honest and clear information is communicated to help customers make decisions.



Prioritizing company’s needs, continuing successful marketing measures, increasing customer satisfaction all lead to increased competitiveness



Transparency allows improved communication with management, sales and development. Also, improved teamwork helps overcome obstacles.



Project professionals who have a deep understanding of accelerated delivery techniques are in high demand.



Sharing what you’re working on and talking through challenges is engaging and can be a great satisfaction.


To learn how Wired can help you establish an Adaptive/Agile PMO please contact us.