PMI and Agile Alliance Together ?!?

By January 5, 2017Blog

Yes, that’s right, there is a collaboration happening between the Project Management Institute and the Agile Alliance. This is actually really happening, it’s exciting. A cross-functional team, from these two organizations, has come together to build an Agile Practice Guide for publication in mid 2017, and I happen to be a lucky participant on this team.

Not only that, but this new guide is going to be aligned with the next edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide®) which will also contain, for the first time ever, formal Agile content.

This is a big deal, a really important conversation happening between these two organizations, who are coming together when they’ve traditionally been viewed as philosophically opposed to each other about, with clichés like:

“Well, project managers are all about one person telling everybody what to do.”
Or
“Agile is all about letting team members they can do whatever they want.”

That’s not the point. The point is that we have some common convictions and common needs.

Common Need for Clarity

In particular, the first need that we’re discovering across both communities is the need for clarity. What is this Agile business all about? What are all these buzz words, like “Scrum”, “SAFe”, and “XP”? What does it mean? In fact, what does it even mean to be agile? Because if you ask 10 people what that means you’re going to get 50 different answers. There’s a common need in both communities to understand really what’s the bottom line? What’s the point? And also what does project management really mean? What’s the bottom line for that?

Common Need for Expansion

The other common conviction is the intent to expand the span of what Agile is about. Traditionally, Agile has been about software and the Agile Alliance has really succeeded in expanding the range of Agile methods in that industry. Arguably, Agile now is used on most projects most of the time in the software space. But what would it take to expand that to other industries like marketing or education or infrastructure? Likewise, what would it take to expand the range of Agile methods beyond just a single team, to where we’re talking about the program level or the organization level, which tend to be things which project managers focus on. These two communities are coming together to really talk about this and provide practical actionable stuff around those topics.

Common Mission

Most importantly, what’s exciting about in our work together is mission. I just came back from a team meeting over in Philadelphia, and what we came to see is that we have some common convictions around the mission. The mission of these two organizations is really similar. It’s about improving work. The stated mission of the Project Management Institute is to advocate for the profession of project management as a discipline. That’s really just about making sure projects are successful, and there’s a lot of techniques you could use to make that happen. The Agile Alliance’s mission is about the same thing, helping projects be more successful and helping people thrive in those projects.

It’s really exciting to see the two different members of the community come together in a small cross functional team of about seven, eight people with some support staff around us, to put together an Agile Practice Guide coming out in mid 2017 in conjunction with The Project Management Body Of Knowledge.

This is big news, guys. I’m excited about it. Already the project is underway and we’re having a lot of bridge-building conversations like:

“Yeah, we’re going to work together. I can’t believe it.”
“Oh, you’re actually not that bad.”
“Oh, you know what, you, uh, you’re pretty good too. Yeah.”

Hopefully you’re excited about that too.

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