Beyond PMO Consulting

"welcome to my personal blog," Ammar W Mango

  • about me

    Organizational Project Management Consultant, using profession as a platform for learning beyond just work. My passion is learning more about self, people, universe, and God.
    I am into Religion, Meditation, Yoga, and Tai Chi. I love learning about human behavior and motivation.
    I am a gourmand who loves healthy food and following latest research into health and natural healing and remedies. I jog and swim whenever I get a chance.
    Please write and tell me about yourself
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Ask a Question

Have a question or issue to debate? Write it down in the “Reply” area below and we can all pitch in together to discuss and maybe find answers.


10 Responses to “Ask a Question”

  1. mohammad abu sbeih said

    Hi Ammar,

    As we know, in the initial stages of PMO projects you should define and document your PM process to be standardized and uniformed. But in some cases, the client environment is very changeable and the work flows in uncertain circumstances, so the processes become a bureaucratic set of barriers toward handling the work efficiently in a quick and agile fashion.

    What I am trying to say, how can PM processes act in an agile environment? Let us take a construction field as an example. In construction projects, there are always new issues raise daily; shortage in materials delivery, shortage in manpower, unstable climate, etc. In this case, PMs tend to NOT following PM processes; instead they will respond quickly to rapid changes to become more agile. E.g. PM will use his phone and oral communication quickly to get labors from the market to move the work forward without looking to “Change Request Management process” or “Resources Availability and loading Balance Process”.

    They argue that the PM processes can work just in a bureaucratic and well organized structure (banks, IT, etc.) NOT their environment.

    The question is; Can PMO works in an agile environment? If yes then how PMO will handle control and governance issues and ensure standardization and consistency.

    Thank you Ammar and waiting to hear from you.

    • ammarmango said

      Good and valid question Mohammad.
      Let us start by why we need processes documented. We need documentation to ensure consistency in applying processes which leads to predictability in outcomes. Predictability gives us the chance to better control and improve on ability to meet objectives. So without documentation, there cannot be quality.
      We need to remember that agile means beign flexible enought to allow room for doing what is necessary to ensure success. This does not mean that we do not document. Instead it means to build the flexibility and the agile into the processes. So, build in the process room for the project manager to take on emergency or quick responsees where necessary and worry about documentation later, like in the case of an emergency change request, or in the case of small change requests. It is like allowing an ambulance to bypass traffic lights in case of emergency. Just because there might be an emergency does not mean we need to eliminate traffic lights altogether.
      I believe that building iterative approaches and using progressive elaboration allow flexibility and room for refinements without having to throw away processes altogether.
      In the case of construction projects, I believe one way to allow agile is to make room for long term schedules as well as short term on site schedules. The short term should abide at a high level with meeting hte objectiv es of the master schedule, but the short term schedules can allow room for flexibility for the project manager.
      Some use agile as an excuse to continue working the same old way; adhoc and heroics.
      I hope this helps.

      • mohammad abu sbeih said

        Thank you Ammar for your reply and great points

        I think agile PMO means PMO that can respond quickly and effectively for two things; (a) expediting conditions and (b) changing in client requirements. If the PMO have processes documented with room for these matters then we can consider PMO as an agile entity.

        We can use something like (expediting policy) contains – as you aid – “getting things done and worry about documentation later”, and something like that.

        Regarding quick response to client change in requirements, we can benchmark Toyota experience in operations filed; what Toyota do is replacing long term plans for manufacturing with very short term plans with decentralized control over job orders dispatching. So, PMO to be agile should have decentralized structure with empowered PMs to have direct control over tasks assignment, clients’ requirements handling with some kind of policies to ensure proper and healthy change with contract terms.

        Please advice

      • ammarmango said

        I like the way you approach this and agree with many of the points you raised. The important thing is to have the flexibility to change and refine based on needs on the ground and based on results from applying these processes.

  2. Herman said

    Dear Amar

    I read your articles and it would be very kind of you if anyone can help me to find answer for the following scenario about project kick off meeting.

    You have been assigned a new project and have met up with the business lead for the project. The business lead is quite keen for you to setup and conduct a kick-off meeting with the stakeholders. You have been on the project for 2 days and are still finding your feet regarding the project scope, key stakeholders, etc.
    Create a 15 minute presentation covering the following (making suitable assumptions where necessary):
    * Next steps after your meeting with the business lead.
    * Detail the tasks (including timelines) you will take to gather the information for the Kick-off meeting.
    * Planning and setup of the kick-off meeting (including delivery method).
    * List of the things you would include in the kick-off presentation and why


  3. Herman said

    It is actually interview question. It’s complex for me because of different approach PRINCE2/PMBOK/SCRUM.
    The more I search to find about topics the more I get confused.
    Please treat it as school assignment 😉 any help? 🙂

  4. ammarmango said

    First things first. This is not a “kickoff meeting.” kickoff meetings take place after a plan is in place and actual work can take place. at that time, you should know your key stakeholders and have gotten their input into your plan, AND gotten commitment from them and buy in for your plan.
    Now, if they mean an initial pre planning meeting to get introduced to stakeholders, and i assume this is what they mean, then here are some ideas.
    First, I would not prepare any kickoff meetings until i understand what I am dealing with as far as the project. 2 days in the job is not time to call for meetings. my God I mean talk about a hasty project owner 🙂
    Anyways, assuming that you must oblige or you will be fired, then here are some tips to help you:
    – I would ask for help on choosing meeting attendants. i think getting the right people in there will be more important than whatever content you put. for that you need help as you are still new. get opinions from different people, not just the business lead on who needs to be in the meeting.
    – You need to find answers at the big picture level before your meeting, like strategic reasons behind the project, the actual value sought, who will benefit, and what is in it for each of the key stakeholders to help you make this project a success. all of this is more important than the presentation you will prepare.
    – Assuming you will get the right audience in the room AND you understand the strategic background of the project AND the “What’s in IT for ME” of your stakeholders, then you need to ask yourself what do i want out of this 15 minute presentation? what do i want people to do afterwards. what do i want them to walk out of the meeting with what understanding?
    – once you have answers to the above, putting together the presentation will be a piece of cake
    I hope this helps.

  5. Ayman said

    I am looking for earned value management training course online

    • Hi Ayman,
      Thank you for your questions.
      I describe the earned value section very well in my PMP course if you are interested. But I do not have anything specifically on earned value at this time.

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