La Vocación de Tlacuilo

Scrum in action: My experience using Scrum/Agile to implement a PMO (Part 1).

Posted in Consulting, Consultoría y Proyectos, Scrum/Agile by charlsmalagon on febrero 25, 2018

Scrum in action: My experience using Scrum/Agile to implement a PMO (Part 1).

Last december I got a challenge from my boss. She said: “Carlos I need your proposal about transcending in this site”. I was assigned as IT Manager in our Shared Services Center in Costa Rica. My main function was to assure strategy about IT, but my boss wanted more. I decided to start an experiment: Stablish a PMO and start implementing usage of Agile methodologies in the site.

We’re about 150 people in this site, so, my first assumption was that if we were small compared to the rest of the company we would be able to move “agile”.

It’s kind of funny that some big companies has not a project culture, neither a training strategy for doing that internally; we assume that hiring a consultant it’s the holly grial for solving our project management necessities; this is not absolutely true and what I had seeing is that companies need to consider internal development related to this: unfortunately consultants are separated to companies objectives and philosophy. Who cleans a rented car?  No one. Same happens to a consultant, even he’s “assigned” to a company, he does not need to be aligned to our vision of the future. Culture is not extensive to our consultant team, another reflexion we need to consider.

If I had to define what was a success factor for a PMO implementation is “support of top management”. Without this effort would be complete useless. So, this is my first recommendation I want to give to you: PMO need to have a value for top management.Need to have a “why” of their existence.

We deffine these benefits of having an office of this kind:

  1. Better decision making: Visibility of projects
  2. Prioritization: Do the right projects.
  3. Minimize Risk: Control, Quality.
  4. Maximise resources: Who does what.
  5. Value to stakeholders: Need to provide benefits (the faster the better).
  6. Enable repeatable success: creation of a Culture for project management.

Our main sponsor agreed. So, I started: I define a strategy divided by 6 dimenssions and started by a first planning meeting where people who are part of the Lean and innovation team defined scope for next week for our PMO implementation effort (it’s called: Sprint planning). It’s important to mention that I was not using therminology related to Scrum yet, only using the concept. Main activities in first 2 sprints (sprint = 1 week of work) were: i) planning sessions; ii) retrospective session.

i) Planning sessions: We sat for about 1 hour and discussed which is the future we had in mind about a PMO implementation. fortunatelly we had 2 people in the room with a lot of experience in big companies and 2 people who were just graduated, vision was wider than expected.

ii) Retrospective sessions: My intension with this meeting was to start reviewing what we were doing good, what can be improved, objective and what we’re going to complete next week and which roadbloacks we would face in upcoming week. I add 2 more topic: first: “In what we become experts” &  Experiments and hypothesis”. We started to discuss about our learings, objective and tasks to do next week and roadblocks. When we started taling about “In what we become experts” no one had something to add. No one. Silence. So, reflection here was important: “Why we don’t have any comment abaout ‘In what we’re experts’?” All people look to each other. No one know what to said. We complete some tasks, do some things right and other not so bad.. but experts? Nothing in what we made in the week was near to become experts… My question was: “Why?” I think that challenging to become an expert in anything is important, it empower our necessity of creation and creativity and helps us to focus in our self-development. So, I challenged them to start thinking in what would they do next week to become experts in something. Anything that could be usefull to our team and teams in the site. We add some tasks, some hipothesys and some experiments and it was like magic. People leave the meeting motivated. I had ever noticed that in a meeting before. When we started working in 3 more projects using Scum and run this exercise of retrospective I noticed exactly the same result: People was motivated. Not only for the result of the sprint (something that can be used) but also for the challenge of run some experiments and the challenge of become “expert” in something. We had being able to improve our organization, time management, communication, use of artifacts, developments of capabilities and personal skills… a huge new toolbox is in continuous process of creation and improvement.  I was really excited about this result.

In my next publication I would share with you more details about this “experiment” I’m running.

Share your thoughts or experiences about using Agile or Scrum. Was that pleasure or painfull? What would you share in your PMO implementation?

Have an extremely cool weekend.



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