Agile & PMI Project Management Mapping MAVERIC S POINT OF VIEW Vol. 7

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1 Vol. 7 MAVERIC S POINT OF VIEW Agile & Abstract: The purpose of this whitepaper is to explore the points of parity and differences between two of the most widely used methodologies. PMI Management Mapping

2 Introduction PMI Management (PMI) is by far the most widely accepted project management methodology. Off late, Agile has emerged as a strong candidate in the project management domain due to faster execution and deliverable oriented requirements of business. Both these methodologies have gained themselves the reputation of best in class for project management for their own uniqueness. Though these methods look very different at a high level, they are actually mutually inclusive rather than exclusive. The principles of project management merge at a specific level even though the execution ways are different. Overview of PMI Management PMI divides the project lifecycle into various logical phases - Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Control (M&C) and Closing. Though these phases are logically sequential, there is a lot of overlap between planning, execution and M&C phases. PMI advocates big bang delivery view where the end of the execution phase creates the complete deliverable for the customer. The intermediate deliverables are often not usable work products but rather used as a milestone for project delivery. PMI further divides the project management into 9 knowledge areas which represent the dimensions on which the project needs to be managed and continuously applied throughout the project lifecycle. PMI Management Knowledge Areas Interaction with Lifecycle Integration Scope Time Cost Quality Lifecycle Phase Initiation Planning Execution M&C Closing Procurement Risk Communication HR Knowledge Areas Interaction with Lifecycle 2

3 Overview of Agile Management Agile is all about breaking down the entire project outcome into multiple smaller usable outcomes each of which can be delivered in a given short span and then iteratively continuing the same process until all the smaller outcomes are achieved. In each of these short spans, called sprints, various project dimensions (scope, time, cost, etc.) are reassessed and incorporated into the deliverable. This multiple reassessment of project dimensions (sprints) brings agility to the entire project management process by adapting quickly to any changing dimension. The Daily Scrum Product Backlog Goal Backlog Work Day 1-4 Week Product Increment Impediment Backlog Vision Planning Session Story Time Session Review Retrospective Lifecycle Management This section shows how the PMBOK principles of project management are applied in different ways in PMI and Agile methods. In PMI, the knowledge areas continuously interact with the project lifecycle (which consists of lifecycle phases) from start to end. Each of the knowledge area details are progressively elaborated as the project moves forward. The final project deliverable is produced at the end of the project. Phase 1 Phase 2 Integration Scope Time Cost Quality Integration Scope Time Cost Quality Initiation Planning Execution M&C Closing Initiation Planning Execution M&C Closing HR Communication Risk Procurement HR Communication Risk Procurement Knowledge Areas Interaction with Lifecycle 3

4 In Agile, the entire project is divided into multiple sprints and each sprint represents a project in itself, having the same lifecycle as the entire project. Here, in each sprint lifecycle, again the same knowledge areas apply. While running each sprint, all the key dimensions of the project represented by knowledge areas are managed similar to the earlier method. Where the project lifecycle approach differs is the delivery of sprint deliverable. At the end of each sprint cycle, a usable project deliverable is created. This results in continuous value creation for the project. Each of these sprint deliverables is integrated at the end to create the complete project deliverable. The concept of phase gates or checkpoints which are used to make a transition from one phase to another in traditional project management is also applicable in Agile. Each of the sprint s closing process group serves as a checkpoint to see if the sprint backlog is cleared, schedule and sprint budgets are met, team is working productively and assessing the customer feedback on the sprint deliverables. All these assessments are fed into the next sprint planning. It is also used to determine if one should move to the next sprint or terminate the project, similar to the phase gate review in PMI. The diagram below shows how the Agile processes align with PMBOK process groups. The underlying principles of managing the projects are essentially the same, only the way they are achieved is different in both the methods. Agile adopts a more iterative approach to deliver than traditional project management. Agile Process Alignment with PMBOK Process Groups Initiation Planning Executing Monitoring Closing & Control Initiate Plan Overall No Yes All Requirements Met Close Plan Execute Control Close Planning Meeting Daily Scrum Meeting Review Meeting 4

5 The table below details the activities in Agile and PMBOK for each of the process groups. The points in blue shows the similarities whereas the points in pink shows dissimilarities. Agile & PMBOK Process Synergy Agile Iteration Management Process Groups Initiation Planning Execution M&C Closure feasibility study Product owner takes care of stakeholder needs Iteration planning and timebox definition Time and cost is fixed, scope is flexible High level scope and effort planning Iterative and incremental delivery of working product Continuous interaction with the customer Iterative product development with integrated testing Tracks delivery of shippable products Taskboards, burndown charts, velocity lessons learned Customer signoff Iteration demo, review and Simpler estimation using effort chunks like small, medium or large effort Iterative scope refinement with minimal impact on project metrics More frequent review and meetings feasibility study Identify stakeholders Detailed scope, time, cost and quality planning Time, scope and cost is fixed Big bang delivery Customer interaction only during scope verification Tracks variance from the plan lessons learned Customer signoff PMBOK Phase Define phase objectives Detailed scope, time, cost and quality planning Sequential process of estimation > effort > time > resources > cost Product testing at the end of the phase Scope refinement through rigorous change control meetings with significant impact on project metrics Earned value method Review meetings happen during the closing process of phase Check phase gate exit criteria Application Areas Both PMI and Agile can be used in most of the given situations, however the effectiveness of one may be more in some specific types of project. PMI is most suited for projects with stable requirements and longer durations (over a year). Agile is suited for projects with shorter duration and evolving requirements. As compared to other domains, software development is extensively marked by shorter duration projects (6-8 weeks) and evolving requirements. As a result, Agile finds a remarkable application in this industry. On the other hand, domains like infrastructure projects, where we have much more clarity on the requirements, are a good opportunity for PMBOK application. 5

6 Conclusion The implementation approaches of both PMI and Agile are different but the fundamental principles of project management apply to both. PMI or Agile should not be seen as competing methodologies and are not meant to substitute one another. These methodologies have their own benefits in their specific context. References PMBOK 4 th edition Author Arnab Dey, Consultant - Process Assurance 6

7 MAVERIC SYSTEMS 2012 We re a leading provider of assurance services across the technology adoption lifecycle bringing tangible value to clients by singularly focusing on enhancing quality from requirements to release. Our Requirements Assurance, Application Assurance and Program Assurance bring end-to-end assurance capabilities to client engagements. We take accountability for requirements definition, requirements validation, comprehensive functional & non-functional testing and quality process assessment, definition & improvement. We support clients through managed testing services as well as testing of packaged applications. We have supported a large number of clients (in banking, insurance and telecom verticals) over the last decade through their transformation programs involving implementation of core business systems, CRM systems, payment systems, billing systems and other sub-systems. We power technology-led business transformation programs for leading corporates through our definitive domain expertise, superior knowledge of industry-standard solutions, innovative testing productivity accelerators and relentless passion. Headquartered in Chennai, we have offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Dubai, Riyadh, London, New Jersey, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. We also have a dedicated global offshore delivery center and a Testing R&D lab in Chennai. Maveric Systems Limited (Corporate Office): Fagun Mansion, 74, Ethiraj Salai, Egmore, Chennai Phone: Fax: Write to us at The contents of this document are entirely a Maveric perspective and is based on our experience and expertise in the industry. All rights reserved.

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