The History, Evolution and Emergence of Agile PM Frameworks (Part 1)

Dr. Rico has been a leader in support of major U.S. government agencies for 25 years. He's led many Cloud, Lean, Agile, SOA, Web Services, Six Sigma, FOSS, ISO 9001, CMMI and SW-CMM projects. He specializes in IT investment analysis, portfolio valuation and organizational change. He's been an international keynote speaker, presented at leading conferences, written six textbooks and published numerous articles. He’s also a frequent PMI, APLN, INCOSE, SPIN and conference speaker. For more see

What is agile project management, and what are its origins? Isn't agile project management an oxymoron? Aren't agile methods the antithesis of traditionalism? Didn't agile methods do away with project management, project managers and traditional methods? Isn't project management a linear, sequential, top-down, rigid, autocratic command-and-control paradigm? Isn't project management rooted in Taylorism, Scientific Management, Fordism, mass production, manufacturing, rationalism and reductionism? Isn't project management better suited for highly repetitive service operations and construction projects?

Don't agile methods address the challenges of 21st century systems (i.e., high-risk, time-sensitive, R&D-oriented, new product and service development projects)? Aren't today's projects characterized by demanding customers, fast-changing market conditions and the development of highly exploratory, technology-intensive complex adaptive systems? Aren't agile methods designed for information age knowledge workers empowered to form self-organizing teams and adapt unique work systems for each problem they encounter? If all of this is true, where does the notion of agile project management fit in?

Let's start with the definition of traditional projects and project management. A project is defined as "a temporary endeavor …

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