Case studies

PMO Kanban wall

An Agile, Lean PMO for the AIS.

Zen Ex Machina creates an Agile PMO for the AIS to help manage Scrum at scale.

An Agile PMO for the AIS

Our challenge

In a Scrum world, where there is no PM role, is the PMO dead? If not, what is its role in facilitating adoption of core agile cultural values across traditional enterprise portfolio, program and project layers?

ZXM was engaged by the AIS to uplift its project management capability maturity. As a critical part of this uplift, ZXM transformed its old-fashioned, project and program-driven PMO into a critical tool for agile and Lean cultural change.

Our solution

ZXM used the PMO to visualise the value chain across the project, program and portfolio layers to highlight to both senior executives and project managers that delivery was suffering because of overcommitment. In essence, in trying to do too much, resources were overstretched, and the program was delivering very little.

To move the PMO away from simple reporting to addressing these now visible issues, ZXM:

  • Made incremental changes to project management processes through use of Kaizen
  • Coached project managers to understand and utilise outcomes, product-based planning rather than focus solely on work-breakdown structures and tasks
  • Coached and encouraged project managers to undertake iterative planning and review cycles
  • Coached project managers to perform retrospectives so that risks and issues could be identified early and continuous improvement commenced
  • Coached teams (both software development and business-as-usual) to use Scrum for their work
  • Aligned traditional reporting with the new product-based, two-weekly, project cycles
  • Visualised the changes to flow using a PMO Kanban
  • Aligned existing PRINCE2 processes to the new agile behaviours so that Scrum was the preferred method for the Project Delivery Stage

The results

Within 6 months, the PMO's role changed from one of reporting to one of supporting and facilitating communication, collaboration, and good agile practices. Within 12 months, through the PMO, the AIS has widenned its use of agile methods to Dev Ops, Infrastructure, Service Desk, Web Content Management, and HR teams.

Today, the PMO shepherds all projects through their project management methodology and champions the use of agile methods and Lean behaviours across all aspects of delivery in ICT. Specifically, through the PMO's continuous championing of agile and lean behaviours:

  • Transparency and governance has improved
  • Projects' risk profile has dramatically decreased
  • Trust, communication and collaboration with business has improved
  • Project Manager's capability to successfully deliver projects has improved

Case studies