Introducing the Agile Practice Guide

Added to Process

By Becky Hartman, Mike Griffiths, Johanna Rothman, Jesse Fewell, Betsy Kauffman, Stephen Matola, and Horia Slusanschi

PMI and Agile Alliance have joined forces to create an Agile Practice Guide with the intention to build a greater understanding of agile practices, with emphasis on how Agile relates to the project management community. Although that is a very clear charter, it’s also very broad, likely leaving many people wondering, “What will they actually cover in this guide?” This blog post intends to offer a preview of what readers can expect to find in the Agile Practice Guide.

We describe the Agile Mindset

To set the right context, we begin by introducing the  Agile Manifesto mindset, values, and principles. The opening also covers the concepts of definable and high-uncertainty work, and the correlation between Lean, Kanban methods and Agile approaches.

We perform a deep analysis of Life Cycle Selection

For Project Managers, the most visible aspect of Agile approaches is arguably the delivery life cycle.  Various life cycles are discussed in the guide, along with suitability filters, tailoring guidelines and common combinations of approaches. This topic is intended to show what is and is not Agile delivery, and to be more thoughtful for when it’s appropriate.

We give a few suggestions for Creating an Agile Environment

There are several critical factors to consider when creating an Agile Environment such as servant leadership and team composition. We explore those factors in depth.

We also offer recommendations for Delivering in an Agile Environment

It is our goal to help you learn how to organize your team and equip them with common practices for delivering value on a regular basis. We provide examples of empirical measurements for the team and for reporting status.

We then explore Organizational Considerations for Project Agility

Every project is influenced strongly by the context of the organization. This guide explores organizational factors that impact the use of agile practices, such as culture, readiness, business practices, and the role of a PMO.

We close by issuing A Call to Action

The content listed here describes the substance of what our team pulled into the Guide. With such a broad field to cover, we did our best to find the most important concepts and techniques to help project practitioners shift to an agile way of working. That being said, we knew from the beginning this guide would not be perfect. In that spirit, we close the main body of the guide with a call to action requesting your input for the continuous improvement of the practice guide.

The guide has a bit more to cover. Essential information that is too bulky and would disrupt the flow of the story is located in three annexes following the main text.

We outline a PMBOK® Guide Mapping

To help those formally trained in project management transition to an agile mindset,  we constructed a mapping of agile concepts to the Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas defined in the PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition. The mapping describes how hybrid and agile approaches address the attributes described in the PMBOK® Guide Knowledge Areas. It covers what stays the same and what may be different along with some guidelines to consider for increasing the likelihood of success.

We also provide an Agile Manifesto Mapping

Conversely, it made sense to indicate where the four value statements of the Agile Manifesto and the twelve underlying principles are covered in the Agile Practice Guide.

We list an Overview of Agile and Lean Frameworks

In order to illustrate the many ways to be agile, the guide describes some of the most commonly used agile approaches, such as Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Kanban, Scrumban, Feature-Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Agile Unified Process (AUP), Scrum of Scrums, Scaled Agile Framework, Large Scale Scrum, Enterprise Scrum and Disciplined Agile.

Further useful information that supplements the main body of the practice guide is captured in three appendices:

Appendix X1 - Contributors and Reviewers

This lists the people that have created and improved the practice guide.

Appendix X2 - Attributes that Influence Tailoring

This appendix provides high-level guidance on when and how to tailor agile approaches. It can be used to determine circumstances that might warrant changing or introducing new techniques, and then offers some recommendations to consider.

Appendix X3 - Agile Suitability Filter Tools

Proposes a model for assessing the suitability of agile, hybrid and predictive approaches. It is intended to help people find the sweet-spot for their current initiative.

Concluding the document are references, bibliography and a glossary. The references section lists the standards and other formal foundational publications cited.

The bibliography is categorized by practice guide section, indicating additional knowledge assets that provide detailed information on topics covered in this practice guide. Here you’ll find pointers to books, blogs, videos, graphics and other useful guidance that you may wish to consider for further study.

The glossary is a list of terms and their definitions as used in this practice guide that are specific to the agile mindset. Refer to the glossary whenever you’re unsure of how a term may be used.

What do you think?

We look forward to your views and insights. Please share them in the comments, and we’ll make sure they are considered in the list of improvements for future versions of the practice guide.

 

About the Authors

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” provides frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams see problems and resolve risks and manage their product development.Johanna is the author of more than ten books, including: - Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver - Agile and Lean Program Management: Scaling Collaboration Across the Organization - Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects, 2nd ed. - Diving for Hidden Treasures: Finding the Value in Your Project Portfolio (with Jutta Eckstein) - Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches to Estimating Project Schedule or Cost See more of Johanna’s books and writing on http://www.jrothman.com, and http://www.createadaptablelife.com.

Jesse Fewell is an author, coach, and trainer in the world of innovation, collaboration, and agility.The founder of VirtuallyAgile.com, he’s helped remote teams from Boston to Bangalore catapult to better results. He journaled his global experiences in the handbook “Can You Hear Me Now: Working with Global, Distributed, Virtual Teams”. As a project management bridge-builder, he founded the original PMI Agile Community of Practice, co-created the PMI-ACP® agile certification, and co-authored the Software Extension to the PMBOK Guide®.A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, he is the world’s only certified Project Management Professional® (PMP) to also hold the expert-level designations of Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST), and Certified Collaboration Instructor (CCI).

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Steve Matola is a Program Executive at Oracle Corporation, a provider of integrated Cloud Applications and Platform Services. A founding member of the Global Cloud Services PMO, Steve is a leader in delivery methods and management of programs that enable the successful delivery of Global Information Technology project.Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maryland and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute since 2004.Steve lives in Northern Arizona with his wife, Colette and enjoys hiking, music and playing soccer.

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