How Your PMO Can Support Agile AND Waterfall: Tips for Adaptive PMOs

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So much has been written on the Agile PMO, the Adaptive PMO, and how the PMO needs to evolve from being the methodology police to an enabler of business agility and a leader of change.

Related to this is the ability to support the ever-growing need to incorporate Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid approaches in their mix as PMOs become more adaptive. As such, I found this article by Susanne Madsen, Agile or Waterfall: 8 Tips to Help You Decide, very fair-minded and informative. 

While iterative approaches can still be used to provide rapid feedback even on projects with the most stringent of requirements, a pure Agile approach can be challenging for a huge projects with distributed teams and little access to customers. Deciding on the best approach is more an art than a science. Fortunately, the article offers a good set of considerations to help the project manager and/or team decide, ranging from project size and team distribution to user access and solution clarity. 

Keep in mind, the PMO's role shouldn't be to dictate methodology; it should be to offer guidance (such as the above) around approaches and execution, fostering good practices while keeping its focus on more strategic things. After all, the PMO has a crucial role to play in helping the organization bridge strategy and execution, drive portfolio and program benefits, and maximize its resources toward the most valuable work. 

This 2011 article from PMI on Reinventing the PMO hits the nail on the head, and is still relevant and fresh today. Fortunately, PMO leaders are finally starting to catch on. Better late than never, as they say!


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Jerry Manas is the bestselling author of The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook, Napoleon on Project Management, and more. At PDWare, Jerry helps clients improve strategy execution through tools and processes that align people and work with organizational priorities. Connect with Jerry on Twitter and LinkedIn