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Microservices Journal: Book Review

Book Review: The Agile PMO

Leading the effective, value-driven, Project Management Office

Every PMO I have seen created ended up being a dumping ground for the duds in the organization. This is especially true in government. It usually comes to fruition through the failed efforts of project managers throughout the organization getting bad enough that the business owners need to take action.

Many times, not all the time, they staff the PMO with the PMs that were failing and shove some PMO certification training down their throats and expect that to be enough. They either hire a certified PMO director, or the PMO director emerges from the group by being the first to dazzle the business with all the new warm and fuzzy PMO buzz words they've learned.

Other times I have seen consultants brought in to whip the failing PMs into shape. Organizing them, training them, and burning them out. The consultants set up new software that takes an army to man. They get meetings on the calendar. Lots of meetings, some with a ball standing in a circle, and some behind closed doors to handle all the issues that couldn't be resolved in 15 minutes while passing a ball around.

By the time the consultants are done with them they are as busy as they can possible get updating the new software, having meetings, and generating reports. The business is happy. Their PMs are finally doing something. It says so right there in the new reports they are getting.

No matter how the PMO comes about, everything looks great through the rose colored glasses everyone is wearing, but that never lasts. When the projects start coming in over budget, late, and buggy, that is when the PMO losses all respect, authority, and becomes a dumping ground for the duds no one knows what to do with.

I have listed the books chapters below to give you an idea of the subjects covered.

Section 1 – Colossal Failures of PMOs
Chapter 1 – The Tactical PMO
Chapter 2 – The Methodology PMO
Chapter 3 – The Project Manager Home PMO

Section 2 – Remarkable Mis-directions of a Value Based PMOs
Chapter 4 – Biting into Cake (and chocking)
Chapter 5 – Thinking in Tools and losing Perspective
Chapter 6 – The obstacle-creating PMO – A true blunder

Section 3 – Ultimately - how to construct and maintain a value adding PMO
Chapter 7 – Breakthrough Change Leadership
Chapter 8 – Reliably staying True to Value
Chapter 9 – The Great and Simple Agile PMO – Delivering Value Easily
Chapter 10 – Interfacing between Linear Waterfall and Agile Approaches

When this book arrived and I saw the size of it, I did not think I was going to find much value in it, but I am glad the opposite is true. I found the examples and reasons for PMO failure to be the same I have seen over the years. I also agree with the concepts he presents for a successful PMO.

The best part about it is that he get straight to the point and stays on point. The book is not bloated with a bunch of agile mantras, or a bunch of meaningless statistics collected by some obscure company who has a 3 page blog on the web, and the experiences he shares with us are all related to the topic at hand.

This book does not take long to read so the investment on your side is a few bucks and minimal time, but it has the potential of helping you avoid going down the wrong road, or recognizing that you are down the wrong road.

Over all I highly recommended it to all those that a part of a PMO, or are thinking about trying to bring one to live.


The Agile PMO: Leading the Effective, Value driven, Project Management Office (Volume 3)

The Agile PMO: Leading the Effective, Value driven, Project Management Office (Volume 3)

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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