Monday, April 15, 2013

Agile is About Adaptive Actions, Not Corrective Actions or Preventive Actions

Recently wrote a post saying that Agile is about Adaptive Actions, not Corrective Actions or Preventive Actions. It is published by the PMHut editorial team.

Some excerpts from the post: 
. . . Adaptive Life Cycle, as noted by PMBOK, is also known as Change Driven or Agile methods. In Adaptive methods respond to high levels of change and ongoing stakeholder involvement. Due to very short iteration length for Adaptive Methods and constantly being able to respond to the change, the actions taken becomes Adaptive Actions. Actions are no more Corrective Actions . . . 
Let me elaborate a bit more on it. PMBOK talks of Integration Management knowledge area. To have the correct perspective, Integration management is the umbrella knowledge area encompassing all other knowledge areas. The key process areas to be looks in are:

1. Develop Project Management Plan (Initiating Process Group/PG)
2. Direct and Management Project Execution or Work as in 5th Edition (Execution Process Group)
3. Monitor and Control Project Work (Monitoring and Controlling Process Group)
4. Perform Integrated Change Control  (Monitoring and Controlling Process Group)

As a project manager, along with planning, the areas which you would be looking for are Execution and Monitoring/Controlling. In Direct & Management Project Work/Execution, Monitor & Control Project Work and Perform Integrated Change Control various forms of Change Requests loom large and used frequently.

Change Request is a request to change which can come from any knowledge area -  Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Risk, Procurement et al. In both 4th and 5th edition of PMBOK this is used and it encompasses Corrective Actions and Preventive Actions. If you are familiar with PMBOK, you would know that there are concepts of Approved Change Requests, Rejected Change Requests (now streamlined in 5th edition). However, with the introduction of Adaptive Life Cycle, the concept of Change Request has remained same! Hence the conclusion as:
. . . PMBOK has not explicitly mentioned Adaptive Action anywhere, but as it has introduced Agile concepts from 5th edition onward. It has also emphasized on Adaptive Life Cycle. Hence, Adaptive Action will be a right addition to PMBOK by PMI.
Complete post of the article is here.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Agile PMP: PMBOK Vs Agile - Comparison and Convergence (Part - 2)

Did you read Part - 1 of this series? Would suggest that you do.

Now, let us proceed on this part. PMBOK has set the defining standard for Project Management and will continue to do so. There is no second opinion about. In this post, we will the check, comparison and convergence between PMBOK and Agile, at the process group level.

Comparison: PMBOK Vs Agile

5 Process Groups (Source - PMBOK, PMI)

PMBOK comes with 5 process groups (PG) - Initiating, Planning, Executing Monitoring and Controlling and Closing. Briefly - Initiating and Closing happens once, whereas Planning, Executing are repeatedly looked upon by Monitoring and Controlling.

Agile also has a framework with its is defined items - let us say phases! What are they? Jim Highsmith, in his book (Agile Project Management - Creating Innovative Products) puts it lucidly. There are 5 phases - Envision, Speculate, Explore, Adapt and Close. To keep it simple - Envision and Close happens once. 

5 Phases - Agile Project Mgmt. Framework (Src - Jim Highsmith Book)
However, Speculate, Explore and Adapt happen repeatedly or in an iterative fashion, along with incremental delivery. This is known as Agile Project Management Framework or APM in short.

PMBOK has not only 5 process groups, it has 10 knowledge areas as well 47 process areas in its latest addition. PMI has added Stakeholder Management knowledge area in 5th edition. However, in Agile it is not detailed like that of PMBOK, rather they have kept it open to much process tailoring internally. 

Convergence: PMBOK And Agile

So, where do they converge?

In both Agile's APM and PMBOK PG, The fundamentals are inline with Demming's cycle - Plan,Do,Check and Act (or P-D-C-A) cycle. That binds both the concepts - 5 process groups for a project management plan (PMP) or 5 phases for APM. 
  • Plan - Planning in PMBOK; Envision in APM 
  • Do - Execution in PMBOK; Explore in APM 
  • Check & Act - Monitoring and Controlling in PMBOK; Adapt in APM
Execution, M&C and Closing happens repeatedly in PMBOK and in similar lines Speculate, Explore and Adapt happens frequently Initiating and Closing happens only once during the life cycle (considering one phase of a product life cycle). Similarly, Envision and Close happens once. . 

However, it must be noted that the process group in PMBOK and phases in APM are not direct matches. There is a lot of subtlety involved!

Also, there are questions on how you progress in groups, knowledge areas, process areas in PMBOK and corresponding in respective phases in APM - like say building user stories, preparing your plan, checking on progress and so on? It will be beyond the scope of this post. It needs in depth explanation and understanding - happens in my workshops and speaking engagements. 

In conclusion, as noted before PMBOK is very detailed where as Agile keeps it quite light. Nevertheless, someone who understands PMBOK transition to Agile is not that really difficult!

Next, we will cover on User Stories. Stay tuned.

This Series: Part -1