Establishing a PMO using Agile Approach

10. 12. 2018

Project management is a critical business activity especially in the contemporary business environment characterized by rapid technological innovations and advancements.


Project management is a critical business activity especially in the contemporary business environment characterized by rapid technological innovations and advancements. For a business organization to be successful, it has to ensure effective project management approach that will guide it to achieve its organizational goals. For a project to be successful, various processes are integrated together to make it a complete project. Each process in a project should be carried out in a manner that will support the entire project alongside functioning effectively and efficiently for the overall success of the organization.

Therefore, considering the importance of effective project management, there is a need to develop an agile project management Approach or strategy for successful support and completion of the particular project (Serrador and Pinto 2015). An agile project management office is necessary and crucial for modern project management activities.


A project management office by definition refers to an entity or administrative body that is allocated different errands all associated to the coordinated and centralized administration of all those projects that are under its dominion (Alsadeq, Akel, and Hamamo 2011). PMO can either be responsible for the straight control of a particular project or providing essential support functions for project management. Therefore, it means that a project management office works to ensure that a project that it is assigned starts and progresses effectively until its completion. A PMO helps project managers to provide effectively the project information in a more accessible manner through freeing time spent on reporting hence creating ample time for them to oversee and manage the projects. It is important to note that a PMO is a change management instrument because, in its nature, it assists business organizations in inducing, handling, and effectively connecting all change initiatives in the particular business organizations (Hobbs, Aubry and Thuillier 2008).

Establishing a PMO has two approaches, the traditional and modern approach. Many clients are used to the latter approach since it does not consider the rapid changes in the contemporary business environment. The traditional method of establishing a PMO provides a project management tool that lacks flexibility, and it is hard to adopt changes. Therefore, there is a need for a PMO that is flexible because change is inevitable in any project especially when we consider the modern business environment where changes occur and any business require adopting the particular modifications for successful functionality (Alsadeq, Akel, and Hamamo 2011). The modern approach of establishing a PMO is effective and ensures that the project achieves its objectives in managing any particular project alongside creating the room for any beneficial changes that a project may require for the overall benefit of the business. 


As noted earlier, a PMO ensures that the project is flexible and can quickly adapt to any beneficial changes. The agile approach does not assume that the team in any particular organization is willing and ready to accept and embrace the changes that the PMO would bring but instead works to make the team and the entire organization ready. Through the initiative, an effective PMO that is essential and effective for all project management requirements for a business is created or established. The following are four key steps applied in the agile approach in developing a beneficial, flexible, modern business oriented, and effective PMO.

  1. The end solution orientation: The first step in establishing a PMO using the agile approach is to consider the final solution prototype (Alsadeq, Akel, and Hamamo 2011). The step ensures that the client provides all the requirements for the PMO hence ensuring ultimate satisfaction and functionality of the PMO.
  2. Skipping some of the steps is necessary: Since the agile approach requires maximum collaboration and minimal planning while aiming at providing the ultimate benefits, it is important to skip all the sophisticated steps such as analysis and reports. The steps aim at getting the client’s approval, but in agile approach, the approval will always come after realization of the benefits.
  3. Empowering the client’s team: The step involves training and mentoring of people who will be using the new PMO. The teams are trained from the first day while providing a PMO help desk for any clarifications as the process continues (Rozenes and Vitner 2009).
  4. Apply changes continually: Involving the client and their team is important, as it will ensure that the PMO is client driven (Hope and Amdahl 2011). Accept and apply any beneficial changes from the client and the team anytime for the overall success in functionality of the PMO.

Through the agile approach, an effective, flexible, helpful, and successful PMO that is client-driven will be established. Additionally, through the agile approach, a PMO that is change-oriented is established to ensure successful project management functionalities, especially in the modern business environment. 

Author: Asma Talal Hamdan


Alsadeq, I., Akel, M., and Hamamo, N. 2011. Establishing a project management office (PMO) using the agile approach. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2011—EMEA, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute

Hobbs, Brian, Monique Aubry, and Denis Thuillier. 2008. "The Project Management Office As An Organizational Innovation". International Journal Of Project Management26 (5): 547-555. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2008.05.008.

Hope, Kristin Lofthus, and Eva Amdahl. 2011. "Configuring Designers? Using One Agile Project Management Methodology To Achieve User Participation". New Technology, Work And Employment 26 (1): 54-67. doi:10.1111/j.1468-005x.2010.00257.x.

Rozenes, Shai, and Gad Vitner. 2009. "The Training Methodology Of Project Management Office (PMO) Personnel". Industrial And Commercial Training 41 (1): 36-42. doi:10.1108/00197850910927741.

Serrador, Pedro, and Jeffrey K. Pinto. 2015. "Does Agile Work? — A Quantitative Analysis Of Agile Project Success". International Journal Of Project Management 33 (5): 1040-1051. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2015.01.006.

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