The Agile PMO: Effective Transformation Governance Through On-Demand Talent

September 7, 2018 Leah Hoffmann

Agile PMO for transformation governance - supreme court

Without good governance, implementing a major business transformation can feel like the wild west: teams aren’t sure what to do and strike out on their own. Approvals take ages, prompting fewer and fewer people to seek them. Corporate standards go out the window. Inconsistencies abound in process, outcomes, and quality.

Project Management Offices (PMOs) are often an effective way to impose structure, mitigate risk, and ensure that transformation work proceeds according to corporate best practices. But how can companies efficiently organize and resource them when, at any moment, multiple change projects are happening with many different workstreams and stakeholders?

Governing the governors

Change is constant, but individual transformation initiatives are, by their nature, temporary. That’s why creating appropriate governance structures for them has always been a challenge. Maybe your company already has a central PMO; should you add to their to-do list or add resources to the team? Maybe you have multiple business or functional PMOs. Should you create a new one, given that your transformation probably cuts across all those domains?

Fortunately, the rise of on-demand talent is powering a new solution to these problems. Experienced, independent project governance experts can integrate quickly onto your team to support internal resources and add critical expertise on standards, procedures, and tools. They can scale their involvement up and down as project needs evolve. And they can enhance accountability by offering a neutral perspective during what can sometimes be a heavily politicized process.

In fact, innovative companies are using independents to create temporary transformation offices that coordinate with executive stakeholders, workstream leaders, and internal governance resources…then disband once the transformation is complete. These offices are organized separately and staffed with on-demand talent, so that they support transformation initiatives without straining corporate resources. They operate in conjunction with an internal steering committee to tailor governance to each stage of the project, and their work is tracked using standardized, stage-appropriate milestones.

There’s been lots of chatter lately about the agile organization. At BTG—where we think the best way to enhance agility is to give your teams access to the internal and external resources they need to make fast, intelligent decisions—we don’t think it’s a stretch to call this the agile PMO. Agile PMOs, like agile organizations, think outside the walls of their organization. They recognize that every major business transformation is unique, and demands a unique set of skills and processes to be successful. And they are dedicated to getting the job done as efficiently as possible.

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If your company is struggling to implement or sustain a major business transformation, BTG can help. We’ll connect you with the independent resources you need to build an agile PMO that can help you keep things on track.

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About the Author

Leah Hoffmann

Leah Hoffmann is a former journalist who has worked for and The Economist. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.

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