Agile’s growing role in project management
Agile Practitioners should consider the full range of project management approaches – including agile – in determining which method will deliver the best project outcomes.
As the leading association for more than three million project, program, and portfolio management professionals around the world, the Project Management Institute (PMI) wants us to consider a wider range of approaches.
A holistic approach reflects what organisations have reported they need to maintain a competitive advantage, regardless of market conditions and other considerations.
Agile is a topic of growing importance in project management. PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession®, released earlier this year, found that 71 per cent of the organisations surveyed are using agile approaches frequently.
"Organisations waste an average of 9.7%, or $97 million for every $1 billion invested, in projects and programs in 2016."
PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession® also found that, globally, organisations wasted an average of 9.7 per cent, or $97 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs in 2016, compared to an average of $122 million per $1 billion in the year prior. Organisations in the United Kingdom were found to waste $128 million for every $1 billion invested in project and programs in 2016, an improvement from the $138 million for every $1 billion wasted in the year prior.
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements. Agile approaches allow teams to deliver specific features and then to work with customers on improvements in real time. Agile is not practiced in place of managing a project. Rather, it is frequently introduced as a way to speed up the phases of a project.
For agile approaches to work effectively, organisations need to develop the agility capabilities for delivering value to customers more quickly than their competitors. Thus, agility is a strategic competence, rather than a set of tools and practices.
Optimising business outcomes across industries
The considerations that led to the widespread use of agile within the information technology industry now have implications across a wide range of industries, as software and other technologies increasingly affect everything from product manufacturing to marketing campaigns. PMI knows that practitioners are most successful when managing activities based on the characteristics of each project. As a result, PMI feels it is important to continue recognising the strong support that exists within the project management community for both predictive and agile approaches.
"Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements."
PMI continues to recommend evaluating approaches that will yield the most successful business outcomes. By offering our Agile Practice Guide together with the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition, PMI brings a broad spectrum of approaches to the forefront that will enable professional project managers to select the method that’s ideal for their project.
A practical guide
The Agile Practice Guide, created in partnership with Agile Alliance®, is a perfect companion to the PMBOK® Guide. First published in 1996, PMI’s PMBOK® Guide is the preeminent global standard for project management. Since its initial release, the PMBOK® Guide has focused primarily on predictive project management approaches and techniques, often referred to as “waterfall” by project management practitioners. It provides project professionals with the fundamental practices needed to achieve organizational results and outcomes.
"The Agile Practice Guide is intended to serve as a bridge to connect waterfall and agile approaches."
A consensus standard, the PMBOK® Guide ― Sixth Edition identifies generally recognised good practices applicable to most projects, most of the time. For the first time, specific considerations for agile approaches to project management appear in the PMBOK® Guide itself.
The Agile Practice Guide is intended to serve as a bridge to connect waterfall and agile approaches. It provides tools, situational guidelines and an understanding of the various agile approaches available to enable better results.
Together, the publications are a powerful tool for all project managers, regardless of their approach.
PMI believes that both agile and waterfall approaches, as well as other methods, are effective in specific scenarios and situations. In today’s fast-moving, perpetually changing market, a culture of organisational agility that enables flexibility and the use of the right approach for the right project is an essential strategic competence.