|Managing Agile Projects|
Traditional IT project management has grown up around and closely aligned with the Waterfall software development methodology. As with most engineering projects the final product to be delivered is scoped, designed, built, tested and implemented – in that order. This is OK if the client knows what it needs precisely and the number of changes is relatively small. Waterfall falls down (pardon the pun) if the project is a quest to achieve an objective and everything changes routinely.
Agile seems to be an ideally suited methodology for developing software in these circumstances but if the work is also a project how should the PMBOK® Guide processes be applied? This blog will outline some ideas at a high level; later blogs may dig into some areas more deeply.
The PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition (2008) has 8 knowledge areas:
Project Scope Management
This makes ‘Verifying the Scope’ interesting. There needs to be clearly defined way to assess if the capability has been delivered. How do you measure a ‘user friendly interface’? It’s not impossible to do but how it’s done needs to be clearly defined.
Change control is also more challenging, as is configuration management.
Project Time Management
In an Agile project, scheduling and workflow become closely aligned. The key requirement is an overall system architecture that defines the sequence modules need to be built in to allow progressive testing and implementation of capability. The software architecture defines the build sequence that defines the schedule.
Scheduling is at a much higher level though. A ‘sprint’ is likely to be a single activity of 1 to 2 weeks duration. The sequencing of the ‘sprints’ and the number of sprints that can operate in parallel define the resource requirements and the project duration.
Project Cost Management
Project Quality Management
Project Human Resource Management
Project Communications Management
Project Risk Management
Project Procurement Management
In conclusion: Align the PMBOK to an Agile project delivery method and the overarching PM process will enhance the probability of success. Treat an Agile project in the same way as a traditional Waterfall project and the PM processes will guarantee failure!
To help bring effective project management into Agile projects, PMI have launched the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) credential. The certification is designed to:
The requirements are:
General Project Management Experience: 2,000 hours working on project teams. These hours must be earned within the last 5 years.
Agile Project Management Experience: 1,500 hours working on agile project teams. These hours are in addition to the 2,000 hours required in general project management experience. These hours must be earned within the last 2 years.
Agile Project Management Training: 21 contact hours; hours must be earned in agile project management topics
Pass the PMI-ACP Examination: Tests knowledge of agile fundamentals