Culture Remains Relevant, Ask PMI

ARTICLE SUMMARY    Achieving Greater Agility:
                   The Vital Role of Culture and Commitment

Organizational Agility

Organizational Agility is not “being fast” or stating that the organization is “going agile,” rather it is the ability of the organization to adapt to any situation/idea while simultaneously delivering business value to its customers.

The phases required in order to deliver said business value are:
(1) decide the next best product;
(2) build that product efficiently and with flexibility;
(3) implement that product with speed and quality.

Critical Importance

  • 92% of Executives Agree that Agility is Critical for Success. (PMI.2)
  • High Agility Corresponds to Better Outcomes. (PMI.3)

Problems when Transforming to Agile

  1. Lack of Executive Sponsorship
    • Without upper-management support:
      • Organizational culture will not enforce change
      • Funding will not be available for change
      • Middle-management will resist change
  2. Not Taking an Enterprise View
    • No Formal, Central-Transformation Program
      • Transformation occurs in isolation
      • Technology behind schedule = business value delivery behind schedule
      • Other groups in organization not included early-on or often
  3. Not Considering Organizational Structure Change
    • New Structure must Facilitate Collaboration
  4. Not Considering Transition Time
    • Not all Groups Should Transform Immediately

Keys for Successfully Transforming to Agile

  1. Utilize the PMO as a Change Agent
    • Communicates Consistently and Effectively
    • Transforms through Phases
    • Reduces Friction
  2. Change the Culture
    • Culture Change comes before Organizational Change
  3. Establish a Formal Agile Transformation Program
    • Sponsored by CEO, Driven by PMO
      • Establish Framework
      • Develop Strategic Capabilities
      • Encourage Groups to Collaborate
      • Develop New Job Roles and Organizational Structures
      • Help Transform Policies/Procedures
      • Evaluate Agile Maturity and Report Progress
  4. Divide-up the Effort
  5. Manage the Change
  6. Focus on the People
    • Early Acknowledgement of the People’s Needs
    • Review and Update HR and Performance Processes
    • Consistent Feedback Requests
  7. Transform in Waves

Transformation Results

“When organizations achieve higher agility, business functions operate differently [by identifying] the most efficient and effective ways to work, and [avoiding] the one-size-fits all approach to [business] value delivery.”

  1. Hybrid PMO
    • Leverage Traditional Skills with New Skills
    • Modernize Traditional Approaches with Agile Approaches
    • Offer Overall, Consolidated View to Senior Management
  2. Business Groups
    • Shifted Focus
      • TRADITIONAL: monitor schedule and cost
      • NEW: measure business value delivered by capacity that is funded
  3. Technology Driver
    • Become Lean
      • Eliminate Wait Times
      • Minimize Internal Documentation
      • Create Smaller, More Effective Teams
  4. Technology Infrastructure
    • Minimize Delays to Deploy New Business Value


  1. Consider Existing Organizational Structure
  2. Focus on People
  3. Manage the Change
  4. Use PMO as a change agent to drive Agile Transformation
  5. Establish a Formal, Agile Transformation Program
  6. Plan the Transformation in Waves
  7. Mind the Gap
    • The gap between highly agile and traditional is growing. Many industries are facing a “pivot or perish” situation.

The Bottom Line

Increased Organizational Agility
Better Performance
Higher Customer Satisfaction
Improved Competitive Advantage

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article!
Comment Below!

P.S. Special Thanks to Jeremy for Inspiring the Format of this Post!


Brien, J. (2018). Top Secret! Successful Program Management in GovernmentJeremy Brien.

PMI.1 (2017). Achieving Greater Agility: The Vital Role of Culture and Commitment. PMI Thought Leadership Series, November Edition.

PMI.2 (2017). Achieving Greater Agility: The Essential Influence of the C-Suite. PMI Thought Leadership Series, November Edition.

PMI.3 (2017). Achieving Greater Agility: The Need for Cross-Functional Support. PMI Thought Leadership Series, November Edition.

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