Project Management

Introducing the PMI Agile Practice Guide

From the Agile in Practice Blog
by , , , , , , , , , ,
This blog is a conversation between the Agile Practice Guide Team and our PMI and Agile Alliance Communities to gain insight, support and collaboration around the creation of a usable and relevant body of work that supports transition to hybrid and agile in project work.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Kristin Jones
Becky Hartman
Johanna Rothman
Betsy Kauffman
Edivandro Conforto
Jesse Fewell
Mike Griffiths
Stephen Townsend
Horia Slusanschi
Karl Best
Stephen Matola

Recent Posts

Agile Practice Guide Goes Global

Unveiling the Community Bridge – the Agile Practice Guide

Introducing the PMI Agile Practice Guide

Agile Practice Guide Launching Pad

Alignment of the Agile Practice Guide and the PMI Standards

Categories: Agile Practice Guide

PMI and Agile Alliance have joined forces to create an Agile Practice Guide, with the intention to to create a greater understanding of agile practices, with emphasis on how agile relates to the project management community. Although that is a very clear charter, it’s also very broad, likely leaving many people wondering, “What will they actually cover in this guide?” This blog post intends to offer a preview of what readers can expect to find in the Agile Practice Guide.

We describe the Agile Mindset

To set the right context, we begin by introducing the  Agile Manifesto mindset, values, and principles. The opening also covers the concepts of definable and high-uncertainty work, and the correlation between lean, Kanban method and agile approaches.

We perform a deep analysis of Life Cycle Selection

For Project Managers, the most visible aspect of Agile approaches is arguably the delivery life cycle.  Various lifecycles are discussed in the guide, along with suitability filters, tailoring guidelines and common combinations of approaches. This topic is intended to show what is and is not Agile delivery, and how to be more thoughtful for when it’s well suited.

We give a few suggestions for Creating an Agile Environment

There are several critical factors to consider when creating an Agile Environment such as servant leadership and team composition. We explore those factors in depth.

We also offer recommendations for Delivering in an Agile Environment

It is our goal to help you learn how to organize your team, and equip them with common for delivering value on a regular basis. We provide examples of empirical measurements for the team and for reporting status.

We then explore Organizational Considerations for Project Agility

Every project is influenced strongly by the context of the organization. This guide explores organizational factors that impact the use of agile practices, such as culture, readiness, business practices, and the role of a PMO.

We close by issuing A Call to Action

The content listed here describes the substance of what our team pulled into the Guide. With such a broad field to cover, we did our best to find the most important concepts and techniques to help project practitioners shift to an agile way of working. That being said, we knew from the beginning this guide would not be perfect. In that spirit, we close the main body of the guide with a call to action requesting your input for the continuous improvement of the practice guide.

The guide has a bit more to cover. Essential information that is too bulky and would disrupt the flow of the story is located in three annexes following the main text.

We outline a PMBOK® Guide Mapping

To help those formally trained in project management transition to an agile mindset,  we constructed a mapping of agile concepts to the Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas defined in the PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition. The mapping describes how hybrid and agile approaches address the attributes described in the PMBOK® Guide Knowledge Areas. It covers what stays the same and what may be different along with some guidelines to consider for increasing the likelihood of success.

We also provide an Agile Manifesto Mapping

Conversely, it made sense to Indicate where the four value statements of the Agile Manifesto and the twelve underlying principles are covered in the Agile Practice Guide.

We list an Overview of Agile and Lean Frameworks

In order to illustrate the many ways to be agile, the guide Describes some of the most commonly used agile approaches, such as Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Kanban, Scrumban, Feature-Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Agile Unified Process (AUP), Scrum of Scrums, Scaled Agile Framework, Large Scale Scrum, Enterprise Scrum and Disciplined Agile.

Further useful information that supplements the main body of the practice guide is captured in three appendices.

Appendix X1 - Contributors and Reviewers

This lists the people that have created and improved the practice guide.

Appendix X2 - Attributes that Influence Tailoring

This appendix provides high-level guidance on when and how to tailor agile approaches. It can be used to determine circumstances that might warrant changing or introducing new techniques, and then offers some recommendations to consider.

Appendix X3 - Agile Suitability Filter Tools

Proposes a model for assessing the suitability of agile, hybrid and predictive approaches. It is intended to help people find the sweet-spot for their current initiative.

Concluding the document are references, bibliography and a glossary. The references section lists the standards and other formal foundational publications cited.

The bibliography is categorised by practice guide section, indicating additional knowledge assets that provide detailed information on topics covered in this practice guide. Here you’ll find pointers to books, blogs, videos, graphics and other useful guidance that you may wish to consider for further study.

The glossary is a list of terms and their definitions as used in this practice guide that are specific to the agile mindset. Refer to the glossary whenever you’re unsure of how a term may be used.

What do you think?

We look forward to your views and insights. Please share them in the comments, and we’ll make sure they are considered in the list of improvements for future versions of the practice guide.

Posted by Horia Slusanschi on: May 21, 2017 04:16 PM | Permalink

Comments (38)

Page: 1 2 next>

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Agile in its first stages of implementation remains quite effective in delivering results and value but as you move forward people use their autonomy for not doing work or being just effective, in my sight if organization implements agile practices then its output should increase because focus is more shifted toward delivering effective products instead of going for efficiency but the main reason which is causing agile projects to fail is its being more boring by not focusing on delivering quality.

Looking forward to reading it. The outline seems to cover all important topics and the emphasis on how agile relates to project management will appeal to a lot of those who have not yet had contact to the topic. If there is also an emphasis on the how and not only the what of agile, maybe even with some real-world examples it will surely be a very valuable read.

I am looking forward to reading the guide, thank you for the outline.

Looks great, thanks.

Hi team... do we have any indication of when the Practice Guide will arrive? The best I've seen is "later in the year".

Also, are drafts available for review?

Interesting intro...looking forward to reading the full guide.

I am very interested in studying this guide. Agile started as a manifesto but has been used as more of a generic term these days, and I find it a bit ambiguous. So any additional clarity will be very helpful.

Sound great, looking forward for reading the guide!

Great idea...look forward to reviewing the guide. This is an excellent addition to PMI

Hi. I think it's a great opportunity to collect and organize information and providing value.
I am looking forward to reading the guide

Thank you for sharing.

I'm ready to buy a copy! I think the mapping back to the PMBOK will be a good reference point in helping others grow as fellow Agileists!

I saw that the Agile Practice guide & PMBOK 6th are available for advanced purchase.
So far, PMBOK can be download for free for PMI-member. Does that mean that for now, we need to buy them?

Interesting overview - getting closer to the September release.
With the "Manifesto" focus on agile software development (The:Manifesto for Agile Software Development) let's hope to see some resolution to the confusion about running two-speed or bi-modal agile approaches in practice.

I celebrate this effort! Thank you. I think the fact that PMI partnered with Agile Alliance gives more authority effort.

The outline you've shared seems very appealing to me and I can't wait to start reading.

Nowadays every body is looking agile approaches, the challenge perhaps is being able to adopt agile practices at a corporate level. New frameworks are trying to address this but perhaps are becoming too complex and perhaps certain level of complexity is needed to operate at a corporate level. I guess this is is still something to keep exploring possibilities.

In the mean time I've pre-ordered this guide and I will be eagerly looking at my mailbox in the next few weeks.

Great job team!

Some feedback for future evolution of the guide:

1. The Uncertainty and Complexity Model chart on page 14 could be made less technology-centric by changing technical uncertainty on the X axis to solution uncertainty

2. In the side bar on page 23, it would be good if the "deliver business value often" is changed to "deliver business value early and regularly"

3. In section 3.1, it would be ideal to list some of the challenges and key considerations when dealing with hybrid lifecycles.

4. Section 4 is great in terms of the shift in a team and team members' perspectives. It would be great to add content around the shift in sponsor and senior stakeholders behavior when moving from predictive to agile lifecycles.

5. In 5.2.1 (Retrospectives) it would be ideal to indicate that proposed improvements be added to the backlog for prioritization.

6. In 5.2.5 (Demos) it would be ideal to state that rotating who does the demoes is a great way to "share the wealth"

7. In 5.4 (Agile Measurements) it would be good to highlight valuable metrics such as features delivered to date being used/features delivered to date or overall business value delivered to date

8. In section 6 (Organizational considerations), I really like the content regarding how Procurement needs to evolve to support agile delivery. Similar content for HR (and other support functions) would be valuable for example changing rewards & recognition to emphasize servant-leadership and team performance rather than just individual performance.

9. In Annex A1, page 94, it would be good to reference the incorporation of risk as a dimension in prioritizing the backlog to ensure that if we fail, we fail fast.

10. In Figure A3-1, it feels that the position of Disciplined Agile is really Disciplined Agile Delivery and not Disciplined Agile as the latter has extremely broad life cycle coverage.

11. In Appendix X3 (Suitability), it would be good to add a few more project-related criteria to assess the fit of the solution for agile delivery. It would also be good to add some details regarding the risks of proceeding with agile delivery resulting from each of these criteria not being met.


Minor thought: on page 11, the guide asks "Is agile an approach, a method, a practice, a technique, or a framework?" That's a lot to consider, but it's also often referred to as a "culture," especially since the manifesto is expressed in terms of values and principles. Those can be put into "practice" using a growing number of "methods," "techniques," and "frameworks," but *being* agile is not dependent on those.

Page: 1 2 next>

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right."

- Mary Kay Ash