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PMI EMEA – Rome – PMI’s Agile Future

Emea17_rome_badge_800x400_v2I will be presenting at the PMI EMEA Congress May 1-3 in Rome on “PMI’s Agile Future”.

2017 marks an important year for embracing agile approaches by the PMI. The PMBOK® v6 Guide, set to be released in Q3 will have agile accommodation guidance for each of its Knowledge Areas and an Agile Appendix. I wrote these sections with Jesse Fewell and hope they enable practitioners to see how techniques can be tailored for agile environments.

Synchronized for release with the PMBOK® V6 Guide is the new Agile Practice Guide. A collaboration between the Agile Alliance and the PMI to create a guide for project practitioners working in the “messy middle-ground“ of agile teams and plan-driven environments.

I am chair of the author team for this book and just returned from our final meeting to edit the first draft of the guide. We had a huge number of comments from our SME reviewers. Some agile enthusiasts believed it was too lenient to tolerate hybrid approaches as a temporary stepping-stone to fully agile approaches. Some plan-driven enthusiasts believe it was too dismissive of plan-driven approaches to be endorsed by the PMI.

I think if we can equally upset “enthusiasts” at both ends of the agile and plan-driven scale we have probably found the sweet-spot for pragmatic practitioners looking to navigate the very real in-between world we often occupy.

Also, out this year is the BA Standard and BA Guide, similarly with agile coverage. I am grateful to Joy Beatty, chair of the BA Standard and Cyndi Dionisio, chair of the PMBOK® v6 Guide for the support they provided at the Agile Practice Guide - Development Workshop we ran at the PMI Global Congress in San Diego last September.

My “PMI’s Agile Future” presentation for Rome is not just a list of PMI agile products. Instead I will be telling the story of how people have managed uncertainty and complexity through history. I hope to dispel some myths around phase-gates, PERT, Gantt charts and waterfall lifecycles and introduce some unsung heroes of adaptive planning.  Then, to stay on track, I will introduce PMI’s agile developments and link them to the future trends indicating the importance of being able to manage uncertainty and complexity.

I am really looking forward to the event and particularly enjoy talking to people afterwards. Please bring your questions and I’ll see you there.



Hello Mike,
Interesting read, as I'm also battling to find that right middle ground. I have done a PPT similar to the one in one of your earlier blogs to show how the agile and plan driven can be balanced, from my experience in the banking domain. Kindly keep me posted when the books are launched.


Mike Griffiths

Hi Ashish,

Will do. I heard this morning the draft has been approved by the Agile Alliance so things should be moving along.



Thanks Mark. One of my biggest challenge is estimation of the execution phase. In the traditional phase as requirements and designs are done up front and changes are handled through CM process, the estimation on the project can be done and schedules created from there.

However in the Agile way, as requirements, design, build and test are done incrementally, how does one estimate that it will X many Sprints to complete the project. Also what does not help is that changes can be accommodated at any time in this activity, so its even more difficult to build a schedule.

I hope the book gives some guidance on this aspect too.

Mike Griffiths

Hi Ashley,
Having planned and estimated using both traditional and agile approaches, I find agile approaches easier to manage and more accurate. Initial estimates on agile projects use a similar approach to tradition projects, via parametric and expert knowledge that have wide margins of uncertainty. However, as teams start executing via iterations they demonstrate true rates of progress that factoring in change rates, defect densities and scope growth. These real world extrapolations of true progress are more accurate than plans and estimates based on analysis and designs alone - that cannot factor in growth, change and defects as well.

We speak briefly about these ideas in the upcoming Agile Practice Guide but avoid prescriptive how-to steps since guides are pitches a level higher at principles.

I hope that answers your question, and thanks for posting.

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