Image: From PMO to VMO: Managing for Value Delivery
By: Sanjiv Augustine

Slow decision making, long deployment cycles, unclear dependencies and missed business outcomes? Coordinating a successful agile approach across multiple teams, programs and portfolios is a significant challenge which can’t be solved without the mindful organization-wide implementation of a scaling framework.

At the core, a coordinated agile approach can be defined with two goals: understanding the outcomes you want to achieve and getting customer value to flow rapidly.

Here are a few steps to solve some common challenges and mindfully coordinate your agile approach across the organization:

If you’re facing:

Try this:

Next Level:

Slow decision making velocity hindered by legacy hierarchy and command-and-control management  – Set up an Executive Action Team (EAT) to link strategy to portfolio execution

– Set up an Agile Value Management Office (VMO) as a team of teams to drive an organization wide agile approach

– Identify “linking pin” executives from the EAT who can be part of an Agile VMO to actively drive business outcomes

– Work with the EAT to capture Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) that capture business outcomes 

Unhappy customers and long up-front and deployment cycles caused by large project batches – Create Empathy Map(s) that capture end user behaviors, attitudes and needs

 – Identify key Value Streams

– Break project work down into smaller batches aligned with a product model

– Help identify Customer Journeys based on business needs and Empathy Maps

– Work with the EAT to identify and help create end-to-end value stream teams

– Help business SMEs and the EAT determine Minimal Marketable Product (MMPs) for small product batches

Dependency management and cross-impact nightmares hampered by organizational silos and “throw it over the wall” working – Set up end-to-end value stream teams

– Make sure your business SMEs are part of the end-to-end  teams

– Align Value Stream Teams to Customer Journeys

– Set up a Portfolio Kanban to track and manage MMP flow and track dependencies visually

Missed business outcomes and frustrated executive leadership caused by project execution that is disconnected from strategy  – Clearly capture strategy

– Directly link strategy to execution on agile teams

– Enable adaptive planning for true business agility

– Guide EAT to pre-fund Value Streams yearly

– Focus on MMPs that are economic winners and aligned with OKRs

– Get aligned across the portfolio with a bi-weekly Scrum of Scrums and quarterly Big Room planning

As organizations learn to tackle these challenges, they’ve seen success leveraging the strengths of middle management to support these approaches. 

One clear way to set this up is to evolve your Project Management Office (PMO) towards an Agile Value Management Office (VMO).  The Agile VMO is a team-of-teams enabling lean portfolio management and adaptive governance that gets value flowing quickly at the level above agile teams; and ensures team support as well as cross team dependency management and governance.

Read more in From PMO to VMO: Managing for Value Delivery

Take our short course Fast Track to Lean Portfolio Management to learn more about the Agile VMO®.