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Scrum – Feedback from team members over having a PM officer associated with the team – Part 4

The previous post (Allowing a person from the PMO organization to be associated with the Scrum team – Part 3) focused on a Scrum team being told that they could have a Project/Program Management Officer who would help out in their team. For many teams in the organization, there was a recent move to move them towards a Scrum based development methodology, and at the same time, there was a move to setup a PMO group within the company to provide more focus on metrics and the like, but there was no mandate that every team needs to use them. So when there was an offer for the Scrum team to use members of the team, the team was considering this and decided to take input from other teams about their experiences with the already existing Project Management organization. More feedback we got about using members from the PMO team (not only from within the organization, but from other organizations) was somewhat positive as well, compared to the previous 2 posts, which outlined negative inputs:
– In some organizations, the PM Office, if trained to work along with Scrum teams, can be very useful. The PM Officer knows how not to act as a big brother in the meetings, instead becomes the expert in terms of determining the metrics that can be useful to the team and provides training on the use of these metrics. There is a lot of resistance in a well functioning Scrum team to anybody who comes from outside and suddenly starts offering a lot of metrics. A useful guy can arrange training on these metrics to the team, and along with the team, determine a good time for the introduction of these metrics. Done right, these metrics can provide a lot of useful information to the team which they can use for determining areas of improvement and hence improve their productivity.
– However, for this, the PM Office needs to also have gone through the same kind of transformations as the Scrum team, becoming a leader in the implementation of Agile practices and seeing how things can be improved. It is just not possible for a team to still remain the same old kind of PM Office, focused on a certain set of metrics and setting the stage for an implementation of metrics through the organization. Such a recipe is harder to work with when the teams are moving towards Agile, towards using Scrum as part of their development methodology. This means that the PM Organization needs to focus more on developing of the individual in an Agile world, since most of the improvements that are going to come in the productivity of the team will come only through focusing on individuals. This also means that the focus needs to be more long term, and less of the short term focus that many organizations tend to have. These are subjective parameters, but when you start having such a PM Organization in the company, it ensures that the PM Officers have a much higher chance of a positive contribution to the efforts of the Scrum team.

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