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16 de marzo de 2014

The Agile Project Manager (and III)

... read the previous post

Agile methods will not fade away. They have been practiced for more than 15 years with outstanding results, not only on software projects but on many other fields. Some projects, especially knowledge worker projects occurring in fast-moving or time-constrained environments, call for an agile approach. If you take a course in Scrum, for instance, you will have solid resources to face an adaptive project. Being invented in the product management arena, agile methods can also be used in project management.

By means of the new credential PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner), PMI is getting back the Project Manager on stage as the main character, also for adaptive projects. In order to get the credential, the candidate has to demonstrate they have real experience on agile projects, and also that they are capable to apply the whole set of tools, techniques, knowledge and skills needed on agile projects.

So far, PMI has not published a new standard to manage agile projects (there is no Agile Project Management Body of Knowledge), and there is no communication implying that. Instead, PMI recommends a series of 11 reference books, true master pieces on agile practices. With so good literature available, maybe this is the right approach (but those books are quite focused on software, though). On the other hand, unfortunately for those not having a good level of English, those 11 books are not translated to any language, and even worse, currently the PMI-ACP exam does not have translation aids. Nowadays, the candidate has to study lot of books and practe a lot of tests, in English.

Moreover, as far as I know, there are not many books aimed to PMI-ACP exam takers and also for those not needing the certification but to learn how to manage agile projects. Those books will come. Meanwhile, you cannot wait. Sooner or later, an agile project is going to cross your path. You better get prepared.

There is no other profession in the world more goal oriented than project management. Project Management is definitely not quite a rewarding profession: If goals are met, as they have to be, that is the reason you are in charge, then no one praise you. But if goals are not met, then the fault is only yours. While everything is doing okay, nobody says a thing, but if the outcome is not good, suddenly, everyone is talking about risk management, poor documentation, poor leadership, quality audits, communication problems, lack of social skills, convenience of coaching, etc. The result is always the same for the poor Project Manager: Everybody blames us and we don’t have good defense.

Project Managers don't need to reinvent the wheel. All they may need is already invented yet. This is the same case for adaptive projects. We don't need to invent methods to manage them. You need to adapt yourself to this new way of managing. If you don't, the next time somebody blames you for managing an adaptive project the traditional way, you will have to admit it this is entirely your fault!

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