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The Project Management mismatch?

Darya Akbari
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Joined: Aug 21, 2004
Posts: 1855
Hi,

when I read about the new Head First PMP book



I was somehow confused about what project management we are all talking about.

It's like as developers and project managers have a different mindset. Developers run for Agile Project Management (APM) guide lines and project managers run after Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide lines.

Not to forget the additional confusion with the different Agile processes

Is APM something new , or a rehash of practices already contained in the PMBOK? Is APM compatible with the PMBOK, or not? Is traditional PM training based on the PMBOK useful for those pursuing APM?

Is their a project management mismatch between developers and managers ?

Regards,
Darya


SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD
Ilja Preuss
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Posts: 14112
I don't see why you'd say it's a mismatch between developers and managers. There are also developers who prefer "traditional" software development, and there is definitely a growing number of managers who are interested in Agile. It simply seems to be a normal "mismatch" between early adopters and the late majority.

Regarding PMI/PMBOK, I don't know much about it - but you might be interested in this discussion: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/agileprojectmanagement/message/5956?threaded=1&var=1&l=1


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Darya Akbari
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Joined: Aug 21, 2004
Posts: 1855
Thanks for the link Ilja. In case I become accepted by that given group I'll take a look at it .

There must be two different types of project managers otherwise we wouldn't have these two Project Management practices. Personally I think that former developers (who became project managers) tend more for APM while others tend to PMBOK.

In the first case (former developer project managers) we maybe see no such mismatch between developers and managers. But what about managers that were not developers before? Do they care more about APM or PMBOK?

The whole issue is adding more to my confusion about all these different Agile methodologies.

Hence questions like the following come up:

  • Is APM something new, or a rehash of practices already contained in the PMBOK?
  • Is APM compatible with the PMBOK, or not?
  • Is traditional PM training based on the PMBOK useful for those pursuing APM?

  • Regards,
    Darya
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Darya,
    I don't see the contradiction. PMBOK is conceptual. It consists of logical phases (initiation, planning, etc.) All these steps happen in an agile project.


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    Ilja Preuss
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    Originally posted by Darya Akbari:
    There must be two different types of project managers otherwise we wouldn't have these two Project Management practices.


    That's like arguing that there must be two different types of developers, otherwise we wouldn't have both Java and C#...

    There is quite a bunch of different management styles that can be looked at from different perspectives: controlling vs. leading, predictive vs. adaptive, sequential vs. iterative etc. pp. Every project manager on the world will be at a somewhat differet place on those scales. An "Agile manager" will more tend to a leading, adaptive, iterative style.

    Personally I think that former developers (who became project managers) tend more for APM while others tend to PMBOK.


    In my experience, there is no correlation at all between a manager having been a developer, and a manager being Agile.

    In the first case (former developer project managers) we maybe see no such mismatch between developers and managers.


    You still seem to imply that all developers are - or want to be - Agile. That is not at all my experience.

    But what about managers that were not developers before? Do they care more about APM or PMBOK?


    Some the former, some the latter, some something else, so it seems to me.


    The whole issue is adding more to my confusion about all these different Agile methodologies.


    Perhaps the confusion is coming from trying to see consistency where there is non?

    What confusion about the Agile methodologies do you have?
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    Originally posted by Jeanne Boyarsky:
    I don't see the contradiction.


    Would you answer all my questions then with a big yes?
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
    What confusion about the Agile methodologies do you have?


    Agile with all its processes is confusing. One does not know exactly which one to follow.

    In Agile you would have APM for Scrum, APM for XP, APM for whatever ...

    What about the PMBOK knowledge areas:
  • Integration
  • Scope Management
  • Time Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • HR Management
  • Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement


  • Does APM cover them? In case it does, then there is a mismatch because we actually have these two mindsets of APM and PMBOK.

    What about the questions I put forward at the begin of this thread . When you try to answer them first you maybe can feel what I feel :roll: .

    See the questions again below:

  • Is APM something new, or a rehash of practices already contained in the PMBOK?
  • Is APM compatible with the PMBOK, or not?
  • Is traditional PM training based on the PMBOK useful for those pursuing APM?

  • Regards,
    Darya
    [ March 04, 2007: Message edited by: Darya Akbari ]
    Ilja Preuss
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    Joined: Jul 11, 2001
    Posts: 14112
    Originally posted by Darya Akbari:
    Agile with all its processes is confusing. One does not know exactly which one to follow.


    I'd suggest to *start* with XP, because it has the most specific practices, and therefore makes it harder to miss something important. The goal should be to understand what Agile actually is about, to get a feel for how the Agile values and principles can be lived.

    Once you get a hang on Agile approaches, you can begin to vary - start looking at the other approaches, mix practices etc.

    Finally you won't care any longer for what exact approach you are following. You intuitively create your own Agile approach, adapted to your project and the current situation.



    In Agile you would have APM for Scrum, APM for XP, APM for whatever ...


    I don't think that's true. The differences between the Agile approaches (I hesitate to call them processes) are not *that* big - especially on the project management level.


    What about the PMBOK knowledge areas:
  • Integration
  • Scope Management
  • Time Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • HR Management
  • Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement


  • Does APM cover them?

    I don't think APM is a thing that can cover or not cover something - it isn't that delineated as far as I can tell. To the extent that the above are things that are interesting to managers in an Agile environment, they are things that are reasonably included under the umbrella term "APM".

    In case it does, then there is a mismatch because we actually have these two mindsets of APM and PMBOK.


    Only to the extent that the PMBOK is in conflict with Agile values and principles. As I said, I don't know enough about the PMBOK to comment.

    What about the questions I put forward at the begin of this thread . When you try to answer them first you maybe can feel what I feel :roll: .


    Agile Project Management is just an umbrella term for doing project management while living the Agile values and principles. It is new in the sense that the formulation of the Agile values and principles is rather new. It isn't new in the sense that people might have lived the values and principles before they were formulated, of course.

    It is not just a rehash of PMBOK practices, because the PMBOK doesn't talk about Agile values, as far as I know. It could still be compatible to the extent that the PMBOK doesn't assume a contraticting set of values and principles. I simply don't know.

    What are the values and principles behind the PMBOK?
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    I searched on the web to better understand the contradiction you are describing. See this presentation for a mapping between agile practices and the PMI's recommendations in the PMBOK.
    Darya Akbari
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    Posts: 1855
    Thanks Jeanne,

    I'll take a look at it
    Ilja Preuss
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    Originally posted by Jeanne Boyarsky:
    See this presentation for a mapping between agile practices and the PMI's recommendations in the PMBOK.


    That presentation is a little bit strange, in my opinion. For example, how did they come to the conclusion that in Agile projects "change is not controlled" (pg. 17)???
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Ilja,
    You read more of the presentation than I did! I stopped at slide 11 after I got a sense of what Darya was getting at with the "mismatch."

    Of course change is controlled. One could argue it is better controlled than in the "traditional" process where it throws everything off track.
    Pj Murray
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    Joined: Sep 24, 2004
    Posts: 194
    Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:


    Finally you won't care any longer for what exact approach you are following. You intuitively create your own Agile approach, adapted to your project and the current situation.



    I think this is a key point. Every development team is different - so why would you possibly expect them to operate in exactly the same way?

    It makes sense to look at different approaches and customize them.


    PJ Murray -
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
    Regarding PMI/PMBOK, I don't know much about it - but you might be interested in this discussion: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/agileprojectmanagement/message/5956?threaded=1&var=1&l=1


    Ilja, I got my permission for this group and can view this superb thread with lots of additional material concerning APM vs. PMBOK .

    Here is a list of those documents referenced in that thread:

  • Relating PMBOK Practices to Agile Practices - Part 1 of 4
  • Using Agile alongside the PMBOK
  • Whitepaper: A project manager's survival guide to going Agile
  • Presentation: A project manager's survival guide to going Agile
  • Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products


  • That's a lot to read, so I'll be back later here .

    Regards,
    Darya
    [ March 11, 2007: Message edited by: Darya Akbari ]
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    Just a little feedback while I am digging through the material Jeanne, Ilja and I mentioned earlier concerning APM vs. PMBOK.

    The author Jim Highsmith (see my last post) is a real authority with a whole book trying to answer my question. I put an order for it on Amazon.

    It seems that APM is very much PMBOK oriented just using another terminology. But I'm still reading (very slowly ).

    More feedback to come.

    Regards,
    Darya
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    Here a very nice image of PMBOK mapped to Jim Highsmith's APM framework:



    Regards,
    Darya
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    The Highsmith PMBOK/APM book is on its way (to me)

    Items shipped on March 19, 2007:
    Delivery estimate: April 4, 2007 - April 11, 2007
    Andrew Stellman
    Author
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    Joined: Feb 28, 2007
    Posts: 44
    Ok, first of all, thanks so much for talking about our book! Jenny and I are software people, and we've spent most of our careers trying to figure out how to deliver software projects better. That's what our first book was about. We spend some time in that book talking about Agile -- and a lot of time talking about some specific practices that were popularized along with Agile development: refactoring, test-driven development, continuous integration, pair programming and a few others. We love those practices, and regularly use them on the job. Personally, I always do test-driven development when writing my own code.

    That said, there's definitely some distance between what you'll see on the PMP exam and in the PMBOK Guide, and what you'll see in an Agile development process like XP, SCRUM, or Crystal. Remember, the PMBOK wasn't written for developers. Most projects that use the PMBOK processes and principles are things that you can't do iteratively -- like, say, highway construction or building a skyscraper. That's why you see a lot of focus on things like subcontracting and procurement, risk management, communications (which you need to plan for really carefully when you've got a thousand people working on a project!), and budgeting. These are things that Agile doesn't address because they're just out of its scope. That's not to say the PMP stuff doesn't work on software -- in fact, it works really well. And when we talked to the people who created the PMBOK Guide (including two of our tech reviewers), they were very much into iteration and interative development, and asked us to make sure to stress that. But the PMBOK Guide and the PMP exam need to apply to all kinds of projects, including non-iterative, non-software ones. And that's why you see a disconnect with something like Agile.

    But there is one big area where Agile and the PMBOK Guide are really similar: managing change. Change management is really important on the PMP. They are very clear on the fact that changes happen on every project, and that you need to make sure that you plan for change and expect it to happen. They stress that no matter what sort of project you're working on, you need to constantly look for changes, and make sure that you change course whenever changes are necessary. That's one of the fundamental goals of Agile development -- the Agile manifesto says that we've come to value "responding to change over following a plan". And that's really similar to what the PMBOK Guide tells us: that when there's a change, we need to modify our plans in order to accommodate that change. (It also wants us to make sure that we know how much the change is going to impact the project, and that everyone involved agrees that the cost of making the change is worth the benefit... which is definitely a good idea too.)

    All in all, I think that there's a lot of value in the ideas behind the PMBOK Guide and the PMP exam, and that an Agile shop could benefit from understanding and applying them. I definitely don't think that the PMBOK Guide and Agile development are incompatible. But it's important to keep in mind that they solve different problems... and that neither Agile nor the PMBOK Guide are intended to be a silver bullet to automatically repair all troubled projects!

    Andrew


    <i>Andrew Stellman<br />Author, "Head First C#" and "Head First PMP"</i><br /><a href="http://www.stellman-greene.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Building Better Software</a> - <a href="http://www.stellman-greene.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.stellman-greene.com</a>
    Ilja Preuss
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    Originally posted by Andrew Stellman:
    (It also wants us to make sure that we know how much the change is going to impact the project, and that everyone involved agrees that the cost of making the change is worth the benefit... which is definitely a good idea too.)


    Which also is an important point of Agile: The customer tells us what change he wants, we tell him how much it will cost, and then he decides whether he still wants it and when.
    Darya Akbari
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    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 1855
    Welcome to JavaRanch Andrew ,

    great to have you here.

    Regards,
    Darya
     
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