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What is Agile Project Management?

For many project and program professionals, the rise in demand for an agile approach to project management within organizations is an exciting development that seems to answer the old "control" vs. "flexibility" dilemma that project managers often face. But what does Agile PM® actually stand for?

The Agile Project Management certification is a flexible approach to managing projects which emphasizes iterative and incremental delivery of project outcomes, whilst ensuring clear control over project deliverables. The way it does this is by fixing time, cost and resources in favour of flexible scope.

Traditional projects

Traditional projects use predictive planning, with detailed work-based plans created from the beginning. Progress is usually measured by completion of work, e.g. "we are 40% through the initiation". The traditional Project Manager is responsible for creating the detailed plans, managing the team performance against these and reporting progress accordingly. Moreover, on a traditional project the Project Manager is often actively involved in directing work and telling the team what they need to do. 

Agile projects

Agile project management follows a different approach. At first, the Agile Project Manager creates a high level plan that is based on the outline requirements, and a high-level view of the solution to be created. From there on, the end product is created iteratively and incrementally, with each increment building on the output of increments preceding it. Unlike traditional projects, the detailed plans for each step are created by the team members themselves who understand the details of the work, not by the Project Manager.

Most of the agile methods provide little or no guidance on how to manage a project in an agile way. Indeed for some agile approaches, the whole concept of a "project" and "project management" is seen as anti-agile!

APMG's Agile PM®, developed in conjunction with DSDM Atern, is the exception- it has always worked from the base of a project and a lifecycle, but has succesfully merged the concepts of corporate constraints and process with agile management and delivery.

CUPE runs a public schedule of APMG-accredited Agile Project Management courses, the syllabus for which was developed by agile practitioners, in collaboration with APMG-International and DSDM. If you need more flexibility, our accredited Agile Distance Learning course is the perfect choice, combining the benefits of self-paced learning with full tutor support (via email).

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