Sunday, January 6, 2008

What is Agile Project Management ?

Agile Project Management is an approach to project management that differs from the more established "command and control" process oriented "high ritual" approach emphasized by the Project Management Institute, as described in the Project Management Book of Knowledge.

According to Wikipedia:

The PMBOK Guide recognizes 44 processes that fall into five basic process groups and nine knowledge areas that are typical of almost all projects.

The five process groups are:

1. Initiating
2. Planning
3. Executing
4. Controlling and Monitoring
5. Closing

The nine knowledge areas are:

1. Project Integration Management
2. Project Scope Management
3. Project Time Management
4. Project Cost Management
5. Project Quality Management
6. Project Human Resource Management
7. Project Communications Management
8. Project Risk Management
9. Project Procurement Management

Each of the nine knowledge areas contains the processes that need to be accomplished within its discipline in order to achieve an effective project management program. Each of these processes also falls into one of the five basic process groups, creating a matrix structure such that every process can be related to one knowledge area and one process group.

In contrast, Agile Project Management methodologies focus on regular interaction between the people (developers and customers) involved in the project and frequent, iterative delivery of working prototypes of the product or service.

The Agile movement is best described by the 2004 Document known as the Declaration of Interdependence, which describes agile and adaptive approaches for linking people, projects, and value:

We are a community of project leaders that are highly successful at delivering results.

To achieve these results:

1. We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of value our focus.

2. We deliver reliable results by engaging customers in frequent interactions and shared ownership.

3. We expect uncertainty and manage for it through iterations, anticipation, and adaptation.

4. We unleash creativity and innovation by recognizing that individuals are the ultimate source of value, and creating an environment where they can make a difference.

5. We boost performance through group accountability for results and shared responsibility for team effectiveness.

6. We improve effectiveness and reliability through situationally specific strategies, processes and practices.

Agile methodologies were first developed in software development. The professional organization focused in that arena is the Agile Alliance. Subsequently, the methodology has been used throughout the information technology field, especially in the area of software system implementation, in new product development, in quality management, and in any other areas in which projects are an integral part of organizational activity. The professional organization that promotes agile methodologies in these areas is the Agile Project Leadership Network.

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