Lightweight Program Management in a World of Heavy Hitters

Lightweight Program Management in a World of Heavy Hitters

by Rick Hill, Senior Vice President

It’s no secret that federal projects are prone to failure.  In fact, according to a recent PMI report, government entities wasted $97 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs in 2016.  How can the federal government cut waste but still have a robust program and project management presence needed to support multi-million and multi-billion dollar initiatives?

When you hear the words “agile” and “waterfall,” your eyes may glaze over because those are terms normally associated with software development.  While that may have been the case a few short years ago, program managers are now adopting these principles to implement into their PMO practices.  But why would software development practices translate to program and project management?

92 percent of C-level executives consider agility critical to business success according to PMI’s Achieving Greater Agility 2017 report.  In the same report, 82 percent of those same C-level executives report the use of agile approaches is important for the implementation of strategic initiatives.  This is because an agile approach to PMO operations allows program and project managers to have greater flexibility in how the accomplish the goals of their projects—and they always have a customer-collaboration mindset at the forefront.

The proof is in the statistics: PMI reports that 88 percent of high-agility organizations say working in a more agile way greatly improves the ability to implement or contribute to strategic objectives, while 66 percent of high-agility organizations report agility is important to the success of their business unit or functional area. 

But should you adopt a completely agile program management mindset?  PMI suggests that the agile framework “should be balanced with appropriative structure and process so that agility does not equal chaos.”  There’s more than one way to work! PMI reports that the percentage of projects meeting goals and business intent are the following:


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Adopting a hybrid approach could you help you cut waste and structure your PMO at the same time. 

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