Reconcile Agile Development with Project Management Best Practices


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As agile software development methods increase in use, confusion arises due to the apparent mismatch between underlying project management principles and techniques of agile methods. IT leaders employing agile methods for the first time must understand how the phases of iterative development map to the Project Management Institute's (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to avoid project management pitfalls.

The Project Management Body of Knowledge

While traditional project management approaches are widely used within organizations, the processes for running agile projects are quite different from traditional approaches. Agile goes beyond development team activities, and changes the way project sponsors, users, and stakeholders are engaged.

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Search Code: 3696
Published: January 23, 2007
Last Revised: January 23, 2007

3 Comments

  • Missing comment
    Patricia Robson | 10-09-2009

    PMBOK is a Project Management method, Agile Development is a product development method. Understanding the difference between a Project and a Product is a major issue for any software development projects.

  • Missing comment
    William Storey | 06-28-2012

    This is a fascinating topic for PMs. One glaring omission is the inability of Agile to accurately predict cost and schedule. WHile the prevailing thought is that Agile is faster and cheaper, every organization I have worked for wants to know within +/- 10 % what it will cost and when it will be delivered. Agile recognizes that gathering 100% (or even 75%) of requirements in the planning phase is not practical. However, predicting cost and schedule with only high level goals and objectives becomes more problematic. It is almost an anolgy to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal in physics applied to Project Management! It would appear that in order for Agile to embraced, upper management has to accept less certain predictability of the cost and schedule.

    • 1f30bc908bc68cb3217f4e2c787058d4 comment
      Info-Tech Research Group | 07-03-2012

      That is absolutely correct – thank you for your comment. The reality is that Agile does not work in every situation. In fact, for Agile to work well the entire typical hierarchy needs to be flipped on its proverbial head. (See Info-Tech research: Understand the Impact of Going Agile). The team must be empowered to make the necessary decisions with the support of management (not the direction of management).

      For management groups that must still “know” the details (i.e. the +/- 10% cost and time), there is a very large hurdle before Agile can be truly effective. Just as mini-vans are not for everyone, so too Agile is not for every business. Despite the potential benefits, in some cases, it can be more detrimental than effective.

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