Agile Alliance has teamed with PMI to create the Agile Practice Guide.

This post recounts a working group session held on September 25th at the PMI Global Congress conference in San Diego and its main findings. The workshop was an opportunity for conference attendees to learn more about the goals and objectives for the Agile Practice Guide and provide their suggestions for content and list what questions they would like the guide to answer.

The session was well attended with over 60 people contributing their ideas for the guide and once all the information had been collated, it filled over 30 typed pages of ideas, suggestions and questions for the core team. We will review some highlights from the presentation and the top topics, ranked by popularity.

We started the session explaining the inputs and constrains that govern the creation of the Agile Practice Guide. The guide is an important new collaboration between Agile Alliance and the PMI that brings content from both communities and existing publications. After collecting this content, it then needs filtering and constraining to meet the requirements of a PMI standards publication for naming conventions and alignment with other guides, etc. This process is illustrated below:

Agile Practice Guide: Inputs and Constraints

The timing of the congress was perfect for providing inputs to the core team who are working on the guide. It came about 30% into the “Working Draft Development” activity and the results of the workshop have been passed to the core team who are busy writing chapters of the guide at the moment. After creating the first draft, the upcoming activities include Editing and Subject Matter Expert (SME) Review. These activities and the overall publication timeline are shown below:

Agile Practice Guide: Production Timeline

At the workshop the participants were engaged in groups to generate ideas, discuss them within their group and then create peer-validated lists of their highest priorities. Working in timeboxed iterations three topics were explored. These were:

  1. What topics you would like to see covered in the new Agile Practice Guide?
  2. What PM roles stay the same and what changes when using Agile methods?
  3. When using hybrid or Agile approaches what problems have you seen and what are some solutions to these problems?

The Results

As mentioned earlier, the results of asking these questions were prolific and wide reaching. However, some topics bubbled to the top as we group the suggestions based on frequency of occurrence, these are listed below:

1) Popular topics for inclusion in the guide

  • Clarity around roles, responsibilities
  • A common terminology
  • Understanding the range of Agile tools, techniques and approaches and their application
  • Guidance on how to develop hybrid approaches
  • Information about how to help their organizations transform
  • Tools and techniques for estimating costs and measuring performance
  • Organizational considerations associated with portfolio management, PMOs and enterprise scaling

2a) PM roles that stay the same

  • Overall accountability for project
  • Interface with executives related to project (i.e., change control negotiation, reporting)
  • Some level of planning responsibility
  • Some level of leadership, people and resource management responsibility
  • Some level of fiscal authority/responsibility

2b) PM roles that change:

  • Servant leader rather than controller
  • No longer assigns tasks or designs workflows
  • Some responsibilities associated with facilitating communication/negotiation
  • PM processes adapt using new Agile approaches

3) When using hybrid or Agile approaches what problems have you seen and what are some solutions to these problems?

Problems seen:

  • Insufficient flexibility
  • “Command and control” remains
  • Inconsistent application of Agile methodology/combining incompatible approaches
  • Ineffective change management

Potential solutions:

  • Agile mindset versus practices
  • Access to training/coaching
  • Effective change management
  • Quality assurance associated with use of/adherence to practices

Obviously in a post like this we can only share the tip of the iceberg of suggested topics for the guide, but hopefully it illustrates the type of guidance being sought by some of the community. The session was very valuable for us as the core development team and we would like to thank again everyone who participated.

About the Authors


This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They may not represent the opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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