Grass roots Agile teams surviving in a strong PMO environment

Convener: Gary Moore

List of participants: Tuyen Tran; Niloufar Dasti; Ian L.; Aleks Gill; Alex Kidd; Charles He; Raoul Kaiser; Jeremy Perdue; Charlene Cuenca; John D.; Mimi Sulfridge; Dimitri De Nil; Grant Meyer; Jimmy Strobe; Dave Limbaugh; Merland Halisky; Elaine Bulloch; Tom Cagley; Jadish Karira; Carmen MacKinnon; Vivek M.

The session began with Gary sharing his observations at the company he is working with: In an effort to be more successful, the development organization adopted Agile/Scrum and self-organized into 12 teams. For several reasons, the Project Management Office resisted the necessary change for Agile to thrive and became more stronger over time. The Agile development organization has suffered since because of this. For the next ~30 minutes the attendees that were experiencing similar challenges at their companies shared with the other attendees. A small number of attendees that have had positive experiences shared during the last ~15 minutes.

Some observations from the discussion:

o Some level of change needed to occur in the PMO for Agile to thrive and it happened over a long period of time (2-3 years) o Strong upper management support was needed to allow Agile teams to be respected by the PMO

o In the absence of this, some deception was necessarily (e.g. a “second set of books” with PMI metrics were derived from Agile metrics) in order to communicate project status to the larger organization

o A strong definition of roles needs to be communicated and understood so PMs/POs/SMs don’t work at cross purposes

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