The Agile PMO - Creating A Lean Organization from the Inside-Out

For many, the idea that you can transform an organization from the PMO outwards seems odd, if not impossible.  But my experience says that this is becoming a trend that more and more clients are asking advice for. 

We know that for an Agile transformation to work, we need to engage not just the Delivery Teams to approach work differently, but we need a change agent high in the organization to support that change in mindset.  I’ve always found it difficult to find that right person in an executive leadership role who is willing to have the courage to “bet the company” on a new and unproven approach such as Agile and Scrum.  As coaches, we tend to start “pilot” projects, and hope that traction will occur “once everyone sees the great results that we get.”  But I think that this approach is fraught with peril of not getting the right project to start with, not getting the right results immediately, and not motivating people by seeing results from a process that they are not comfortable with.

I think I’ve come upon a new approach that works better.  Instead of trying to “sell” Agile at an Enterprise level, embrace pure Lean principles high in the organization and work with the PMO leader at the organization.  Once they are comfortable with ideas such as “more leadership and less management”, “shorter concept to cash cycles”, “enabling Lean Startup mentality for disruptive product development”, “always looking for the elimination of waste”, “exploiting variability through appropriate cadence control and appropriate utilization rates”, “delegated authority”, “continuous improvement”, and “rolling planning”, the PMO becomes a terrific agent for instituting change, because they are usually already endowed with the right responsibilities and accountabilities that can push the organization forward.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

This session will be part lecture and background and part experience recounting and part “how to” (right down to artifacts that have been found to be useful).  We will leave sufficient time at the end to listen and engage on audience perspectives and experiences. 

Learning Outcome

  • Agile is just one easy to understand instance in a Lean mindset
  • Fiscal responsibility in an Enterprise is complex, and can easily erode the organization into extreme risk adversity, instead of appropriate risk taking
  • Better Delivery is merely one desired outcome from an Agile transformation
  • Examination of appropriate Portfolio Management artifacts and details on how to use them

X

Target Audience

PMO, Executive, Upper Management, Product Owner, Delivery Team

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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  • Archana Joshi
    By Archana Joshi  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    An interesting topic. Have you implemented this approach anywhere and planning to bring out those experiences during your talk.

     

     

    • Howard Deiner
      By Howard Deiner  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Yrd indeed.  There will definitely be some field reports of how this has worked in real life, but the emphasis is on the strategy of how to bring about organizational transformation, change, and improvement.

  • Howard Deiner
    By Howard Deiner  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Definately on the interaction portions.  90 minutes is WAY too long to sit and just listen!  As of now, I see two areas that I want to get people up on their feet for.  The first deals with an artifact that I've been improving over the last couple of years, dealing with ingestion of initiatives for funding work, where we will work through a Lean Business Model Canvas and fill in some financials to support the business case of why the organization should invest in particular products (updates to these artifacts feed the rolling budgeting and planning of the organization).  I believe that it will be worked by squads of participants on a hypothetical problem, and we'll describe and discuss the results together as a way of reinforcing the ideas I'll be speaking to.  The other is an organizational pattern that I want to get across on platform versus product concerns.  I'll probably use the same teams as we use on the other audience participation part, and I'll want people to get creative to see how we can break down organizational silo dependencies (if and only if that's the right thing to do, BTW) into Kanban cycle time teams where more normal Scrum teams can plan their work JIT with embedded platform people (this also speaks to the higher order "research" and "architectural" issues on corporate competencies and how to make best use of their talents in a Scrum dedicated team environment).

    Sorry I didn't see the request for more information sooner.  I'll be more vigilant in checking up on comments.  :-)  Thanks!

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Howard, request you to please respond to the comment below.

  • Ellen Grove
    By Ellen Grove  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Howard. Will any of the how-to elements of this presentation be interactive? I think the topic of this talk is of great interest and I understand how you can easily spend 90 min on this subject, but a talk of this length might be a challenge to attendees.


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